I am practicing right concentration because it is part of the eighth of the Eightfold path according to the Buddhist tradition.
Right concentration. What is that?
Right concentration is being able to hold the focus in an uncluttered mind.
More importantly, Right concentration is being able to hold that intention without allowing the state of the universe, or your house, or your energy, or anything to interrupt your flow of focus, concentration.
There is a Zen center in Crestone, Colorado where we have our retreat in the fall. Sometimes we have it in the spring. It is a nearly silent retreat.
Once, we interviewed one of the Buddhists living at the Zen Center. Christian was his name. He told us about their meditation practice and practicing right concentration, and that they practice it for two or three hours at a time. I can’t remember exactly because I was thinking, “Are you kidding me?” while he was explaining this to us.
They meditate in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening for I don’t know how long, maybe two hours, and they do so without moving.
Now, during July in Crestone sometimes, not always, but sometimes in July, there is a time when mosquitoes come in and they swarm like nobody’s business. He told us that when they were in their meditation they hold their position, even when the mosquito (and he had a shaved head) is biting, chewing on, sucking your blood. That might be too gross for you if you are listening to this in the morning. Amazingly, while they are in that meditating position they hold the right concentration.
Christian said that to do that, you had to bring in the “honoring of the mosquito”. It is a living thing just as you are. Therefore, you had to bring in the discovery of the totality of the feeling to concentrate on what was happening at exactly that moment.
Now I know I am a long ways from that, however, I am trying to learn, and I am learning.
How to hold the focus during meditation
When my mind gets cluttered and wanders off, how does one bring it right back to that focus?
That is why they call it the Buddhist “practice”.
All of the eightfold path is a part of practicing as right understanding, right intent, right speech. Most of all it is about practicing how you experience that energy, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
It is all a practice.
It is all about right concentration. Especially doing what it takes to unclutter your mind enough to focus on exactly what is happening, right here and right now.
Feel your breathing.
Have the awareness of your chest moving in and out.
Or, being aware of your eyes blinking. Do they make a sound? Concentrate on the most minute things, or the largest things, and you can practice that right concentration or right focus.
Yet, you know when someone says, “Oh, I can’t do that. Oh, that will never work for me.” I am not buying it. I am not buying it at all. Because I believe that anything is possible and that is my right intention.
Thank you for having the patience to go through this weekly series of a few minutes each week about my exploration of the eightfold path according to the Buddhist tradition. As a result, I hope you learned something, too.
If you want to learn more about it, you know, Google it, you will receive lots of information. Or come to our retreat in Thailand. We will sit with the Buddha, and see how that experience shifts the way we experience our own eightfold path.
We do love you deeply.
We honor every single part of you.
We are mindful of your desires, your pain, your wishes, your experiences.
And we still ask that you rise above, rise beyond where you have been. Rise through your own comfort place…to practice, living the best possible life that you can live.
Tell us about your practice… leave a comment below. We love to hear from you.