CONCENTRATION by M. E. Carter – The Spirit of The New Thought

M.E. Carter
The Spirit of The New Thought
Edited by Horatio W. Dresser

[From The Journal of Practical Metaphysics, October, 1897.]

Concentration has been defined to be “the acquirement of a disciplined ability to rivet one’s attention upon a given and well-selected object.” The same authority says “concentration, to be really worthful, must not only be rightful as to its object, but persistent in its method.” “In concentration fix your attention upon the one thing which you select as the thing you must do” — or dwell upon; — “hold firmly to this single idea and pursue it steadily, no matter what your outer engagement may be.” This is concentration, and no one who faithfully concentrates can fail in the attainment of his aim. We are constantly met by the declaration, “I cannot concentrate.” But a little observation will prove that as a rule every one can, and all do, concentrate more or less upon whatever may specially interest them. The Consecrated soul concentrates upon high and noble aims and aspirations; and the man whose desire is for gold concentrates his thought-energy upon its attainment, frequently employing his concentration so assiduously in the direction of wealth that he sacrifices home-life, health and bis peace of mind, only to find at last, when he has accomplished the desire of his life, that the power to enjoy his wealth has gone, and he is himself the anxious possessor of millions and obliged to bend all his mental forces upon the keeping of his stocks and bonds, his houses and lands, his mortgages and manifold securities, or insecurities. Too early comes failing health, the usual appendix to the experience of the multimillionaire.

Take another case, the student, determined upon intellectual attainment. He, too, focalizes all his energies in one direction, concentrates day and night upon the desired object, and just in proportion to the energy and persistence of the focusing of his thought come, sooner or later, the name and the fame he seeks. Here again we see, although the aim has certainly been higher than that of the one who sought for gold, result similar to the first.

The woman who loves fashion and dress and admiration finds no difficulty in concentrating her powers and energies in the direction of her desires. She sacrifices home-life, the society of her children and all the real beauty of living to this one end and aim, — and in the same measure that she concentrates she accomplishes her object. In all of these cases there will of course be disappointment to meet and obstacles to overcome, but these will usually intensify the concentration and establish the will. Coming into conflict with the unalterable laws of their being or ignoring them for a time, sooner or later the law which they have attempted to break scourges them, and the penalty is paid to the uttermost, for no law of our being can be broken by us. Transgression breaks the transgressor, or more truly, converts him or her in time.

A pleasanter illustration of concentration on this earth plane is seen in the little child at play, when, without any effort, its whole thought is centered upon its game, while teachers and parents find a strenuous effort necessary to attract its attention. Someone has said that Concentration in one word expresses “paying attention.” We pay attention to that upon which we concentrate. We pay attention to that which interests us. All these cases cited are so familiar to as that they need no reinforcement by special instances to prove them. They are before our eyes daily. We can each and all think of some special interest in our lives when concentration of thought, purpose and action were no effort, rather a pleasure, and we have found ourselves absorbed in our thought, work, or pleasure, to such a degree that our friends sometimes have found fault with us, and wished that we would not concentrate so assiduously.

And yet, in the face of all these incontrovertible facts, we hear frequently the statement from many intelligent and thoughtful people, “I cannot concentrate.” The sentence is always unfinished and should run thus: “I cannot concentrate upon the truth of my being; nor upon the life-awakening thought of my relation to my Source and what that means to me.” This may be true to a certain extent, but there is not a human being who cannot concentrate upon the highest thought that he or she may wish and will to concentrate upon, provided the will be trained in the direction of aspiration.

When we begin to realize the truth of Being we shall see to it that will and desire are conjoined, and the result will be that our power of concentration will increase since the consciousness will be aroused to seek higher realms of thought, and with the aspiration and soul hunger arising from knowledge of what is of value will come a vision of the true relation of things and thoughts. Then, and then only, can we say, I will think upon what I will to think about. And just as naturally as we take our food and sleep regularly shall we go into the supreme silence of our true spiritual being and hold ourselves there steadily and calmly, for power, for peace, for strength, for usefulness, and for all that of which we may at any time feel the need*. (*The expression “going into the silence” is an equivalent among New Thought people for spiritual meditation and concentration upon ideal suggestions. -Ed.)

Some may ask. How can one concentrate upon celestial ideas when one’s whole life is led among things so opposite? A story is told of an active business man who had learned to go into the silence for power and guidance, and who always, while sitting at his desk in his office, when the whirl of business went on about him throughout the day, if he felt the need of instruction or direction, then and there, without stirring from his desk, he withdrew his thought from the outer world, from his desk, his books, and all distractions, and went promptly into the silence of his inmost self. Regardless of the din of business, regardless of all not within his own divine consciousness, he sat quietly viewing the spiritual vision, listening to the voice divine, learning the way to walk surely and wisely, and to do the best in the circumstances he was to meet. Thus he sat quietly until, taught by that wonderful inner voice, he was ready to return to his business duties, reinforced and ready for wise action.

Concentration has been truly named “the key to power.” Its opposite, scattered, ungoverned thinking, means weakness, failure, disintegration. Concentration, rightly directed, leads to knowledge born of the intuition thus unfolded. Knowledge and intuition developed in the silence teach us the way of salvation from all error, and the inharmony that erroneous scattered thinking brings upon the ignorant or undeveloped soul. In the silence of concentration we become one with the great universal Intelligence, knowledge, truth, existence and bliss. In the silence the vision clears and spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The perplexities of the work-a-day world disappear, and the wisest and best thing to do in any given instance comes to us; anxieties flee away; the soul, realizing its divine self, serenely watches for its own heavenly vision which is ever waiting for recognition, and is only hidden by the clouds of earth-born thinking.

This silence has been called going up into the mountain. In all the Scriptures the revelations which have been given to prophets and seers have been received by them on mountain tops or in still places. One great prophet of old, when he went to the mountain to listen, heard no Divine Voice in the whirlwind nor in the storm, but the still small voice of inspiration came after the noises were all passed. When the child of God listens attentively for the inner voice, then comes the peace which passes all understanding.

One who has often been quoted has said: “We must go not only up the mount, climb, so to speak, but we must go into it, away from sights and sounds terrestrial, if we would be shown the pattern of heavenly living and thinking, which may only be seen up above and in the mountain-top of our loftiest consciousness, where all things are transfigured because the effulgence of the Divine is there flowing forth unobstructed and making all things radiant.”

Concentration, rightly directed by the will, trained to aspiration, will invariably lead to those high peaks of vision where all thought is clarified and we see greater and grander visions beckoning to us to ascend higher and still higher. Only in the silence and on that mountain can this transfiguration be experienced, and the way to this unspeakable knowledge, existence and bliss is through concentration. The mountain heights and the stillness are within the soul-consciousness of each and every child of God. Seek and ye shall find your own divine self ever on the heights, ever beckoning you to loftier visions.

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