Concentration Mind Exercises

First rule, your mind is not used to discipline and will fight you on it.  Yay! Like arguing with a two-year old during the terrible two stage.  🙂  Our minds love their freedom and will try to do anything to keep it that way.  The battle of willpower will come into effect here. Beware, and knowing this is half the battle.  You can succeed. Even just 10 minutes a day of concentration exercises will do you a world of good and keep you on the path you want to be on.

First find a quiet place where you can be alone, sit erect in a chair or on the floor. Like you would when you meditate.  Turn your focus on your body and relax it by taking deep breaths.  Go through your body parts and relax them, for example the feet, move to the legs and go upward.  I find if I tense them up then release the tension they relax.  If your mind begins to wonder don’t get upset just come back to focusing on the your deep breaths.   Start with this exercise for 10 minutes a day and work up to 15 minutes.

You can move onto the next exercise once you can do this one for a full 3 minutes of not breaking your concentration.  Remember the mind doesn’t like to be tamed and have limited freedom to NOT think what it wants.  Laugh a little about how undisciplined your mind is and just take it in stride.

Now for the fun exercises: Don’t try all of them at once 🙂

Exercise 1
Take a book and count the words in any one paragraph. Count them again to be sure that you have counted them correctly. Start with one paragraph and when it becomes easier, count the words in a whole page. Perform the counting mentally and only with your eyes, without pointing you finger at each word.

Exercise 2
Count backwards in your mind, from one hundred to one.

Exercise 3
Count in your mind from one hundred to one, skipping each three numbers, that is 100, 97, 94, etc.

Exercise 4
Choose an inspiring word, or just a simple sound, and repeat it silently in your mind for five minutes. When your mind can concentrate more easily, try to reach ten minutes of uninterrupted concentration.

Exercise 5
Take a fruit, an apple, orange, banana or any other fruit, and hold it in your hands. Examine the fruit from all its sides, while keeping your whole attention focused on it. Do not let yourself be carried away by irrelevant thoughts or associated thoughts that might arise, such as about the shop were you bought it, about how and where it was grown, its nutritive value, etc. Stay calm, while trying to ignore these thoughts and not be interested in them. Just look at the fruit, focus your attention on it without thinking about anything else, and examine its shape, smell, taste and the sensation it gives when touching and holding it.

Exercise 6
This is the same as exercise number 5, only that this time you visualize the fruit instead of looking at it. Start by looking at the fruit and examining it for about 2 minutes, just as in exercise number 5, and then do this one. Close your eyes, and try to see, smell, taste and touch the fruit in your imagination. Try to see a clear and well defined image. If the image becomes blurred, open your eyes, look at the fruit for a short while, and then close your eyes and continue the exercise. It might help if you imagine the fruit held in your hands, as in the previous exercise, or imagine it standing on a table.

Exercise 7
Take a small simple object such as a spoon, a fork, or a glass. Concentrate on one of these objects. Watch the object from all sides without any verbalization, that is, with no words in your mind. Just watch the object without thinking with words about it.

Exercise 8
After becoming proficient in the above exercises, you can come to this exercise. Draw a small geometrical figure, about three inches in size, such as a triangle, a rectangular or a circle, paint it with any color you wish, and concentrate on it. You should see only the figure, nothing else. Only the figure exists for you now, with no unrelated thoughts or any distractions. Try not to think with words during the exercise. Watch the figure in front of you and that’s it. Try not to strain your eyes.

Exercise 9
The same as number 8, only this time visualize the figure with the eyes closed. As before, if you forget how the figure looks like, open your eyes for a few seconds and watch the figure and then close your eyes and continue with the exercise.

Exercise 10
The same as above in number 9 but the eyes open.

Exercise 11
Try for at least five minutes, to stay without thoughts. This exercise is to be attempted only after all the previous ones have been performed successfully. The previous exercises, if practiced correctly, will endow you with the ability to impose silence on your thoughts. In time it will become easier and easier.

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