Meditation, contemplation, concentration

“Meditation is an activity of the mind- an attempt to deepen your understanding of spiritual truths. Contemplation, on the other hand, is an activity of the heart or soul- you dwell on an image, a quality or a virtue in order to rejoice in its light and beauty and be in communion with it. And on a higher level still, there is the magical activity of identification by which the will and the spirit identify with the creator in order to create. Some days you will feel inclined to work with the mind: to think and search and ponder, this is meditation. On other days, when you are in a state of hamony, peace and bliss, you may feel drawn to contemplation. And then there are other days when your will manifests itself more strongly and you feel the need to do something, to create, to set in motion invisible forces.

You have all certainly experienced these three states even though you may not have recognised them or been able to define them. But you need to know yourself better: to learn to recognise your state of mind, the nature of the work you have been doing and the faculty that predominated in that activity. Depending on your individual nature and the relative development of your mind, heart and will, you will have greater affinity for one kind of activity than for another. Whether you want to meditate, contemplate or create, concentration is essential. Concentration does not belong to one particular faculty, it consists in engaging all your faculties in the pursuit of a definite goal and of keeping them trained unwaveringly in that direction. Meditation, prayer, contemplation and identification all presuppose the ability to concentrate. Concentration is indispensable; no work can be effective without it. A person who allows his or her mind to wander in all directions will never get anywhere. You cannot become the creator of your own future if you are weak, dissipated and disorganised.

Concentration is one of the most important factors in almost every activity. Engravers, surgeons, acrobats, to name only a few, all know how important it is. They all have to concentrate in order to avoid a clumsy gesture that could have catastrophic results. Manual workers, also, need to concentrate to avoid having an arm or a leg cut off by a machine. So many accidents happen because of a moment of distraction! Concentration, therefore, is truly the foundation of safety and success and, generally speaking, people understand this and manage to apply it in their professional work. But it is when it comes to the psychic and spiritual domain that they have no notion of its value. So you must understand that you will never make any progress in meditation unless you learn to concentrate. You must practise every day, gradually increasing the time you give to it until you are capable of concentrating on your spiritual work for hours on end. Yes. for hours at a time! Some people can do this; they are capable of working on the psychic plane for hours on end. It is easy to do so for a few minutes… but for several hours? So, there you are, make an effort! With practice everything is possible.”

Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov  Know Thyself- Jnana Yoga

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