Levels of Concentration

Before the mind can be transcended, it must be unified. This unification happens in levels, or degrees. We all have pre-developed levels of concentration. You may have noticed one person is able to concentrate better than another. Some of us have selective concentration where we can concentrate on one thing better than another. The concentration of an accomplished Yogi however, is not selective. They are able to concentrate on all things equally.

We know that everything in the universe is energy which vibrates at varying frequencies. Concentration being an intention, is thus, also a form energy that can be cultivated to certain degrees. In order for this faculty to evolve, we need to understand how effectively our five senses of perception and action are able to avoid distractions that are filtering into our psyche constantly and regardless of these disturbances, hold our attention onto the object of concentration.

Concentration is dependent on your level of surrender. Surrender brings to a standstill the worries and ruminations that hinder your ability to establish focus. Some people cannot concentrate long enough to read. But if they get locked away in a room with no possibility of ever getting out, after the initial revolt, the mind will realize the futility of the ongoing mental acrobatics and will automatically begin calming down. If you are given a book then, your concentration will be so deep that you will lose all awareness of your surroundings, including your physical body. As your level of concentration increases, so will your level of patience and your degree of tranquility.

Concentration enables one to interpenetrate the astral and causal bodies through the use of the physical body and its power of intellect. Using the faculty of discernment, a Yogi skilfully severs the contact of the senses with the outside world bringing the vacillations of the mind to a standstill. In the same way that one can see the bottom of the stream after the ripples on the suface subside, one gets a glimpse into the subtle nature of reality when the ripples in thought become quiet.

The manner in which the subject of Samadhi is treated in the Yoga-Sutras may appear rather strange to the student. He should remember, however, that these Sutras are meant to provide in a very condensed form all the essential knowledge for the advanced student of Yoga and not to serve as an introduction for the beginner who has yet to learn the A.B.C. of the subject. That is why Patanjali allows himself to plunge into a discussion of the more abstruse aspects of Samadhi in Section I and deals with the different stages of concentration leading upto Samadhi in Section III.

This manner of teaching a subject may appear very confusing for the modern day student who is used to learning the foundational, or easy things in the beginning and the hard things in the end. Therefore, if the student is not familiar, or at least failrly advanced in the theoretical aspect of Yoga then he or she will find the subject of Samadhi very confusing. As a result what we shall do is look at the easier or foundation upon which the topic of Samadhi is based earlier on in the studies and the advanced work will be towards the end and it will appear in the LAB work.