Mind / Body

February 15, 2014

Concentration: The Brain Is A Muscle

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Written by: Float

Introduction

Commonly in many parapsychological oriented communities, or that of general metaphysics, the use of meditation, breathing exercises, or long term sessions geared towards a single goal is used to in turn create the desired outcome. Be that outcome the progression of some say it “psychic” phenomena, or that of spiritual advancement. Whatever the outcome is, there is a simple, and I say this, simple concept that is often always overlooked.

In sifting through various websites I have found that not only is this topic addressed very little, it is also one of the most important things to address when dealing with matters of the brain, and thus the mind. This topic is clearly the thought of the brain, being that of a muscle, and like all muscles it needs to be exercised regularly to keep it healthy…

Why Does This Apply To Me?

Whatever your goal, or reason in reading this blog, it applies to you, as it applies to everyone. Just as intelligence is power, a powerful mind is of the utmost importance when doing anything within the metaphysical world of things. It improves concentration, memory, thought skills, intelligence, etc… Which is very much so important. This should be easily seen at this point in time, if it was not known before. Though this information may not come as a surprise to some of you, it is still neglected in most articles geared towards your advancement, and should be enacted to better yourself in all aspects of life.

The Brain

The Brain is a thinking organ, which works with its world and environment by interaction and perception. Our brains are able to effectively rewire itself and adapt, even in old age. Hence forth, with disease aside, the major cause for the decline in mental functioning in old age is due to a lack of exercise and new experiences to stimulate the brain. If the opposite, however, is applied, it can cause a new production of neurons. What this means, for the sake of simplicity, is that the more you work, challenge, and offer your brain diverse experiences, it makes it stronger, which has extremely positive long term effects.

I’m going to give you various exercises that should be practiced on a regular basis. These exercises will increase your sensitivity, concentration, memory, etc… Some of these exercises will seem familiar to a few of you, depending on your choice in reading material, others you have probably not been seen and seldom will. Either way I present them here only because I have/do personally use them and find them extremely useful.

Building Focus

Focus is a crucial component in everything you attempt to do when it comes to Psionics, Heremetics, or just general Meditation and every day life experiences. It is true that you can accomplish things without the most focus in the world, however, having a good amount of focus makes things go a lot smoother, and there are some instances whereby you cannot do without. Focus is also not like riding a bike, it takes constant attention and practice to build and maintain.

The following exercises come directly from the book Initiation Into Hermetics, By Franz Bardon. They are very effective, henceforth why I am listing them here. They are well written and explained thoroughly, so there is little need for me to rewrite them in anyway, as I could do them no better justice.

The first step in acquiring a keen level of focus is to get a handle on the main distracting issue we all face, our own thoughts. Incoincidentally, it is also the first step of mental training offered in the book, so it is where we will start:

Thought Control: Discipline of Thoughts, & Subordination of Thoughts

Take a seat in a comfortable chair or lie down on a settee. Relax the whole body, close your eyes and observe the train of your thoughts for five minutes, trying to retain it. At first, you will find that there are rushing up to you thoughts concerning everyday affairs, professional worries, and the like. Take the behavior of a silent observer toward these trains of thoughts, freely and independently.

According to the mentality and the mental situation you happen to be in at the moment, this exercise will be more or less easy for you. The main point is not to forget yourself, not to lose the train of thoughts, but to pursue it attentively. Beware of falling asleep while doing this exercise. If you begin to feel tired, stop instantly and postpone the exercise to another time, when you intent not to give in to tiredness. The Indians sprinkle cold water on their faces or rub down the face and upper part of their bodies to remain brisk and not waste precious time. Some deep breathing before you begin will also prevent tiredness and sleepiness. As time goes on, each disciple will find out such little tricks by himself. This exercise of controlling thoughts has to be undertaken in the morning and at night. It is to be extended each day by one minute to allow the train of thoughts to be pursued and controlled without the slightest digression for a time of 10 minutes at least after a week’s training.

This space of time is destined to the average man. If it should not suffice, everyone can extend it according to his own apposition. In any event, it is advisable to proceed very consciously, because it is of no use to hurry, development being quite individual in men. On no account go further before the preceding exercise is perfectly under control. “

- Franz Bardon, “Initiation into Hermetics”, Practical Exercises, Step #1

This is the first step for a reason. Without adequate thought control it proves to be very difficult in later exercises, such as meditation, which also happens to be the one subject I will probably stress above any other subjects in later posts. It is recommended that you do not move on until you meet the requirements he lists. Being hasty will get you no where and give you nothing more than wasted time and thus effort. I cannot stress enough the need for patience, rushing through is a serious waste of your own time and the only one you are cheating is yourself. Once this is completed and to an adequate level you are content with, Franz continues by saying:

“Up to now we have learned to control our thoughts. The next exercise will consist in not giving way in our mind to thoughts obtruding themselves in our mind, unwanted and obstinate. For instance, we must be able not to occupy ourselves any longer with the tasks and worries of our profession when we come home from work and return the family circle and privacy. All thoughts not belonging to our privacy must be set aside, and we ought to manage to become quite a different personality instantly. And just the other way around: in our job, all thoughts have to be concentrated in it exclusively, and we must not allow them to digress our wander home, to private affairs, or elsewhere. This has to be practiced time and again until it has developed into a habit. Above all, one ought to accustom oneself to achieve whatever one does with full consciousness, whether in professional work or in private, regardless whether the point is a big one or a trifle. This exercise should be kept for a lifetime, because it is sharpening the mind and strengthening the consciousness and the memory. “

- Franz Bardon, “Initiation into Hermetics”, Practical Exercises, Step #1

Having obtained a certain skill in this exercise, you may turn to the following one. The purpose will now be to hold onto a single thought or idea for a longer while, and to suppress any other thoughts associating and obtruding with force on the mind. Choose for this purpose any train of thoughts or ideation or a suitable presentation according to your personal taste. hold onto this presentation with all your strength. Vigorsoulsy refuse all the other thoughts that have nothing to do with the thoughts being exercised. At first you probably will succeed only for a few seconds, later on for minutes. You must manage to concentrate on one single thought and follow it for 10 minutes at least.”

The exercise of keeping personal thoughts for personal time and professional thoughts only for when you are in a professional environment is one that everyone should take in and work at. Bringing unnecessary stress into the home is detrimental to any environment. However, in our current economic state, with jobs on the low, and the cost of living on such a high, such things are not always the primary concern as we all feel the need to go up and beyond that which we could feel content with previously.

This is one subject I grappled with and though it is not the end all be all, I advise that you at least consider it. I understand that at times taking work home is almost inevitable, and the stress along with that. Though it should be understood that the only person who has control over your emotions, is you, and making excuses for the way you handle those emotions gets you no where. As I’ve learned, the best way to not be stressed, is to not be stressed. This is a very effective exercise and practice, one that I still grapple with because we are all human. However if you work at it, I assure you that it will make you a lot more at ease and content, as well as making the home environment filled with a lot more joy.

Franz completes this section by saying:

“If you succeed in doing so, you will be fit for a new exercise. Let us then learn how to produce an absolute vacancy of mind. Lie down comfortable on a bed or sofa or sit in an armchair and relax your whole body. Close your eyes. Energetically dismiss any thought coming upon you. Nothing at all is allowed to happen in your mind; an absolute vacancy of mind must reign. Now hold on to this stage of vacancy without digressing or forgetting. At first, you will manage to do so for only a few seconds, but by practicing it more often you will surely succeed better at it. The purpose of the exercise will be attained if you succeed in remaining in this state for a full 10 minutes without losing your self-control or even falling asleep.”

- Franz Bardon, “Initiation into Hermetics”, Practical Exercises, Step #1

All of these exercises take time, and thus patience is a must. As I’ve stated before, rushing through will get you no where fast, but if you work at it diligently and often, you will be sure to see results. The above exercises are only the first of many listed in the book. I considered listing more in depth exercises presented within it, but I would rather you read through the book yourself for knowledge’s sake. For the best results you should follow everything mentioned as it is mentioned, as in, take the time to do things as they should be done, and don’t cheat yourself.

Relaxation by Distracting the Mind

Most find it easier to focus and concentrate on a subject when they are fully relaxed. It is often difficult, however, to relax fully when your mind is wandering about, which is more likely to happen when whatever task you are attempting to perform, be it driving to work or meditation, becomes that of habit and quite trivial. The more you do something the easier it becomes to do without constant focus and attention. The same reason why as young children we learn to ride a bike while focusing tentatively on not falling, and peddling. But as we grow accustomed to riding the bike, we are able to do so when eating, talking, thinking about other things, etc… Thus, clearing our heads becomes more important and harder with other tasks. Unlike the above exercises, the one I’m going to explain are fairly simple and can be done on any moments notice to clear your head and allow you to relax and concentrate.

Deep Breathing and Counting Backwards

It’s no surprise that breathing deeply allows you to relax, but by counting backwards you are able to distract your usually active mind, with a task that is rarely performed. Start by taking in two deep breaths, on the third you begin with the number 10 (or 100, doesn’t really matter) and begin counting backwards with every inhalation and exhalation. As in, inhale-10 exhale-9, etc…

Do this until you have made it to zero. For the more mathematically astute individuals this may not suffice, and so I would suggest starting from a larger number, such as 100 and counting backwards by 3’s (inhale-100, exhale-97, inhale-94, etc…) or reciting your ABC’s in reverse.

This is not a new exercise and has been around in different variations for a long time, mainly because it is an effective exercise and one that I have used often.

Concentration and Memory

Methods of developing concentration and memory are many, but there are none out there I know of to be more effective than the ones you can find entertainment out of. However, entertainingment is not always the answer, and so I will advise that you attempt a form of “Focal Meditation.,” which is by no accounts the end all be all of anything, it is a good exercise for concentration purposes, but all the exercises mentioned above will help you in all aspects of concentration and memory. For those still interested, there is an article on Focal Meditation that can be found at the Veritas website. There is no use in me rewriting something that is already sitting around for your viewing pleasures. That article can be found Here.

As for other means of developing the two, here are a list of websites offering games that I find to be pretty entertaining, as well as challenging and should help you to develop your concentration and memory by challenging you:

Play With Your Mind

Intelligent Games

Web Sudoku

It should be made note of that the brain has a tendency to rewire itself, any new activity or ritual that is done in a different manor, perhaps taking a different route to work, or putting your pants on the opposite leg first, forces your brain into essentially “rewiring” to make way for different mechnisisms of solving problems and completing a task, giving you the ability to adapt and think on your feet, basically helping your problem solving skills, making you a more intelligent person.

*This post is one that I will try my best to continually edit, as opposed to making various posts about the same general thing.*

Take Care,

~Truth

 



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