Concentration According to Swami Vivekananda

Concentration is the essence of all knowledge; nothing can be done without it. Ninety percent of thought force is wasted by the ordinary human being, and therefore he is constantly committing blunders; the trained man or mind never makes a mistake.

To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collection of facts. If I had to do my education over again, and had any voice in the matter, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then with a perfect instrument I could collect facts at will.

How has all the knowledge in the world been gained but by the concentration powers of the mind? The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only knew how to knock, how to give the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point; that is the secret.

Here is the difference between man and the animals — man has greater powers of concentration. The difference in their power of concentration also constitutes the difference between man and man. Compare the lowest with the highest man. The difference is in the degree of concentration. This is the only difference.

Do you see,  simply by the observance of strict Brahmacharya (continence), all learning can be mastered in a very short time – one has unfailing memory of what one hears or knows but once. It is owing to this lack of continence that everything is on the bring of ruin in our country.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. This is the way that every spiritual giant is produced. Others are mere talking machines.

How are we to know that the mind has become concentrated? Because the idea of time will vanish. The more time passes unnoticed, the more concentrated we are. In common life we see that when we are interested in a book we do not notice the time at all and when we leave the book we are often surprised to find how many hours have passed.

All the great prophets, saints and seers of the world — what did they do? In one span of life, they lived the whole life of humanity. In one life they perfected themselves; they have no thought for anything else, … and thus the way has shortened for them. That is what I meant by concentration — intensifying the power of assimilation, thus shortening of the time.

Concentration of the powers of mind is our only instrument to help us see God. The concentrated mind is a lamp that shows us every corner of the soul.

Success in life is mostly depends on the power of concentration. Clear thinking and intellectual understanding are very easy for a concentrated mind. Arjuna could shoot at the target with his tremendous power of concentration.

Swami Vivekananda

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