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Concentration and Distraction

By Karmayogi

Concentration is helped by distraction is a contradiction. There is power in concentration whether it is for reading or working. Spiritual concentration is uncompromising. There are several disciplines that demand concentration must be unbroken. If broken, one has to start over again. No perfect work, especially spiritual work, can ever be done when there is a distraction from the central concentration. Then how can we say distraction helps concentration? There was a railway driver who could not clearly hear. But when he went near his engine or got into the engine, he could hear perfectly in the background of that roaring noise.

There are people who read with the radio on. When the radio is turned off, they lose their concentration. This is a known phenomenon. If there is such a concentration, how do we understand it? Is that a valid concentration that can be of value? No argument is necessary as such a concentration exists. It is a fact. Our being has a surface which we understand as ourselves. It has a depth but we do not know all about it. We do have knowledge that our surface is not all. Some may mistake our surface to be our all. Concentration on the surface is possible only when the surface is not disturbed by the depth. Spiritual disciplines impose a very serious concentration on the surface so that the depth falls quiet, allowing the surface to pursue its path. All the yogas so far done have been done on the surface.

For that reason, yogic realisation is partial, and admits of dualities like good and evil. Integral yoga is done in the depths, the subliminal. This requires a concentration in the depths. Those who attempt it pass through an intermediate stage before reaching the required depth. So, during that period, the depth needs an occupation. When some distraction is offered, the strong depth gets engaged allowing the surface to concentrate. As the concentration develops, it reaches the depth, when there are no more rumblings in any quarters. The radio that engages the reader, the roar of the railway engine that makes our voice audible to the driver are minor versions of that major phenomenon. Life has major determinants, minor intensities and in between other versions too. An integral yoga cannot neglect the minor or major or other versions. To be able to see the spiritual truths in daily activities makes the yoga full, Purna Yoga.

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