middot truth mesorah finding concentration

finding concentration

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

Rabban Gamliel said, "All my days have I grown up among the wise and I have not found anything better for a man (literally, “better for the body”) than silence."  --Pirke Avot 1:17

Meditation is a discipline of concentrating on one specific thought.  Perhaps it is a Torah verse, counting breaths, or focusing on a single object. However, no matter what, it is essential during meditation not to think about results. Some people get caught in the trap of thinking "am I doing this right", "will I get anything out of this", "I must be doing this wrong". This takes away from the very practice of meditation and is counterproductive.  Most people will get something out of meditation, even if they have only done it for a few times.

However, there are very real results and one must know what they are in order to gain the motivation to take on a regular meditation practice.  Regular practice meditation helps to quiet the mind. If anything, it gets one to be still and quiet.  Even though thoughts and images still arise, they do not come as frequently or with the same intensity.  Practiced meditation strengthens our power of concentration and allows us to clearly distinguish between those thoughts that are leading us towards God and a healthy life and those that are leading us toward negative or even destructive patterns of behavior.

getting it right

Sometimes, we imagine that we are only doing something impressive or productive when we are talking, doing, studying.  Indeed, we can do productive things in these states.  But just as well, we can accomplish much in a meditative state.  We can connect to parts within ourselves that can only be accessed in the quiet moments, in the introspective and highly aware moments.  These moments of concentration are crucial in honing our spirituality and connecting with the parts that need to be refined.

By taking at least 15 minutes a day, we can improve our health by mindful breathing, concentration, and purposeful quiet.  Not only will we dig deeper into the recesses of our mind and find answers, we will hear, if we try, the expansiveness of Hashem's leading in our silent moments.

Truly, there is nothing better for a man or woman than to find oneself in a meditative state: exploring, contemplating, concentrating, and reaching new heights.

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