By Clyde Granger
Within the Yoga Sutras, the practice of Dharana is the sixth limb of Ashtanga Yoga. The word “Dharana” itself means “unbending concentration of the mind.” When a person can operate with total and undiluted concentration and focus it brings a deep sense of satisfaction. We all feel a sense of frustration whenever we are unable to properly focus in order to accomplish a task such as writing a paper, studying, tending a garden, or working.
One of the reasons that we are unable to properly focus our minds is because our minds are jumbled and bursting with random thoughts, ideas, fears, worries, memories, or even something as seemingly harmless as a song. One of the main facets of the practice of Dharana is achieving an ability to concentrate on something while being undisturbed by internal as well as external distractions.
The meditative form of Dharana is also known as receptive concentration. With the aid of Dharana, a frame of conditions are constructed that aid the mind in focusing in a single direction and object instead of having the focus shattered in several directions which causes unbalance and for the mind to be diverted.
The term “Dharana” is shared with both the practice of intense concentration and the state of mind in which a person is able to successfully gain deep concentration. Dharana should ideally be undertaken at every moment of the day so that a person may gain the highest level of control of the mind as well as the body.
The way that Dharana works is that it strives to reconstruct the mind by focusing it on a concrete entity. One good way to begin is by rolling the eyes downward and upward in a single direction in order to achieve the proper concentration.
Any inanimate object that is chosen for practicing has no intrinsic role in the meditative process itself. Instead, the only purpose of the object is to keep the mind from straying to memories, dreams, and snatches of thought. This is done by purposefully centering the mind on a random object.
The practice of Dharana will be especially beneficial to anyone dealing with frustration, anger, and restlessness. Dharana is the practice of conditioning the mind to focus and concentrate in a way that it becomes feasible to avoid any and all frustration. Concentrate the mind on a single point, allow the mind to become stable, and silence the flurry of activity (mind chatter) that we have become used to.
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