MKL 19.27: For your exercise this week, concentrate, and when I use the word concentrate, I mean all that the word implies; become so absorbed in the object of your thought that you are conscious of nothing else, and do this for a few minutes everyday. You take the necessary time to eat in order that the body may be nourished, why not take the time to assimilate your mental food?
Let’s start with the admittance that despite years of practice, concentration is still a challenge for me. I’m like the kid who turns her head at any random noise or shiny light. If one could watch me trying to achieve any project that takes longer than an hour, you’d wonder why every 20 minutes or so I am wandering off into another sub-project or getting something to drink or sending a text message.
As a kid, I used to have anxiety attacks when I had to do any big project for school: book reports, presentations, etc. I would procrastinate until the last minute and then have such bad anxiety that it would make me physically ill and I couldn’t go to school the next day. It wasn’t until I saw a therapist in my mid 20s that I understood why.
I was overwhelmed. I could only see the whole picture. And it always looked like way more than I could handle. She gave me the sage advice of breaking things into smaller parts and tackling one piece at a time. Though I still struggle at times, I constantly remind myself to do this and it is extremely helpful. My challenge was not so much the concentration, but how much of it I had to do at once.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that final statement: You take the necessary time to eat in order that the body may be nourished, why not take the time to assimilate your mental food? Last week I spent A LOT of time meditating, practicing yoga and sleeping. I just needed to process, to assimilate, the Divine information coming in; the breakthroughs, the understandings, the possibilities. I needed time to let it all start to settle. It felt so nourishing just to be quiet and out of Time and not doing so much.
This week came with some challenges in moving back into a more “doing” state of being, but with Hannel’s suggestion to concentrate, I spent a few minutes each day focusing on one of the things that came up while I was just being. It was interesting to watch my mind’s relationship with the subject change as the week progressed. And it certainly did help me assimilate the idea. And my concentration did improve. But I still needed that time out of Time.
We went to the North shore, Haena beach. What do you do at the beach when it’s cloudy and been storming for days? You look for shells. But I wasn’t looking for just any shells; I was micro-shelling. We are talking small, like a millimeter or two. You got to get real low and close to the ground. And I was lost. I could see the all the tiny parts and the big picture all at once. I was concentrating, I was meditating, simultaneously. I was in the Flow.
And there’s something magical about being in that place. It is the space where your mental food gets processed; it is the space from which intuitions and imagination arise. It is completely essential to take time to Be in your Doing. And what I realized in all of this, is that I need more time to BE, not do. I need to relish in the fruits of my concentration, I need to be in Meditation, for the path behind me to make sense and the path ahead of me to arise.