Concentration and Holding Your Breath

Do you hold your breath while concentrating intently on something? Many do so, as if holding the breath helps to concentrate. This of course is done unconsciously, but it causes physical and mental strain, which is absolutely not healthy and disturbs the concentration. You have to be aware of this tendency of holding your breath, and when it happens, relax your body and start breathing normally. After all, how long can you hold your breath? After a little while you will feel strained and exhausted and will have to breathe in.

One of the website visitors asked the following question:

“Whenever I want to concentrate, I have to hold my breath. Otherwise I can’t concentrate properly. The problem is I want concentrate more than a minute. Can you help me?”

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Restless Thoughts Are Like Restless Fish

By Remez Sasson

Are you aware of the restlessness of your thoughts? If you watch your mind, you will see that it jumps from one subject to another, never standing still. The mind is always busy, too often with trivialities. One moment you might be thinking one thing, and the next moment thinking about something else. This is a deeply embedded habit that constantly distracts the mind and prevents it from focusing on one thing at a time.

If you wish to succeed in anything, you need to be able to overcome the restlessness of your thoughts. The key to every job well done and to every success is concentration – the ability to focus the mind on one thing.

When there are no restless thoughts – There is inner peace.

In my book, Peace of Mind in Daily life, I have written a short story, illustrating the similarity between the behavior of fish and the behavior of thoughts. It is about a young man who asked a spiritual teacher to help him gain peace of mind. To his amazement, the teacher sent him to the river, to watch the fish swimming in the water.

Here is an excerpt from this story:

After sitting by the river for some time, a revelation suddenly flashed through his mind and he shouted excitedly: “My mind and my thoughts are restless too, exactly like the flock of fish. This is probably what the teacher wanted me to understand.”

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Visualizing and Meditating Without Words

People often ask me questions about meditation and visualization. One common question is, “How to visualize and meditate without words?” Here is a question someone has asked me a few days ago, which is a typical question:

“How can I meditate or visualize without words? My meditations, visualization etc. are always accompanied by explanatory words in my mind, and I find it difficult to remove them.”

It is very common for people to use words when they visualize or meditate. This habit often distracts the mind and disturbs the concentration. Instead of focusing on the subject of visualization or meditation, you constantly find yourself explaining to yourself what you are doing, or thinking about other related or unrelated subjects.

This happens because the mind is constantly active with thinking, comparing, analyzing and commenting on everything it is aware of. It is a deeply embedded habit, and while it is useful for certain activities, visualization, and especially meditation are more effective without it.

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Obstacles to Concentration

Do you find it difficult to hold your attention fixed on one subject or thought longer than a few seconds, before getting distracted by other thoughts or sense impressions? There are several obstacles to concentration that everyone faces, but these obstacles can be surmounted.

What are the obstacles to concentration?

# Lack of enough willpower

# Lack of enough self discipline

# Impatience

# Undisciplined mind

# Too much interest in other thoughts

# Physical and mental restlessness

# Lack of understanding of what concentration is

# Inability to sit still

# Ill health

# Lack of motivation to improve the concentration

#  Too much stress and lack of enough rest

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