Whether you are new to meditation or you have been meditating, you should already know that meditation requires you to have ability to concentrate. In blog post, I am going to talk about the opposite, which is how meditation can actually improves our ability to concentrate. Concentration plays a very important role of making us work more effectively. If your job involves some deep work such as having to be concentrated for hours to write some complex computer program or write some very well-written articles, your ability to concentrate is just too important that you can’t ignore. Now, let’s explore the relationship between meditation and concentrate.
The Beautiful Loop: Concentrate Improves Your Meditation and Vice Versa
As I have touched on earlier, you need to be able to concentrate to have good meditation. For example, you need to be able to sit still for at least 10 minutes, and focus on your breath or a mantra you are reading in your mind. For a lot of people, sitting still for 10 minutes, without having tasty food or without getting paid to work is already very challenging for them. But if keep working on it by just keep extending the length of your meditation a little bit at a time, you will find that it won’t take your more than two to three weeks to learn how to sit still and concentrate for 10 minutes. Throughout this process of learning how to meditate, you can already improving your concentration ability. Another nice thing is that once you have enough concentration to do meditation properly, your mind will become more quiet and you will have a easier time to focus when you are working. You can see that it’s a beautiful looping relation between improving concentrate capability and improving the quality of meditation.
The Lost Art of Focus Thanks to Technology
Why is it so difficult to concentrate? I would say that it used to be a lot easy decades ago but the world today filled with social medias and instant messaging makes it really hard for us to focus. When is the last time you don’t check your smartphone for 15 minutes? Back in the day when there are only emails and not everyone has them, people may be checking the computer once every two hours which is already too much in my opinion. When there were mails only, people were checking their mailboxes may be once a day. You get the point. Technology make us live in a super fast world that seems like everything happens around the world means a lot to you that it has to pop up in the screen of your smartphone. I am not arguing whether the technology is good or bad. I actually tend to believe that evolution is good so the improving technology is good. I am just saying that we don’t have to be that addicted to our smartphones. If you are used to checking your phone every 5 minutes, there is no reason to believe that you can sit still for 10 or more minutes and concentrate on your breath or your mantra. Let’s un-develop that crazy addiction to your smartphone by simply checking your phone a few times a day. You will be amazed by how much more quiet your mind will get and how meaningless it is too have to see what’s going on every time a notification message pops up.
Science Backed Evidence of Meditation Improving Concentration
Thanks to the improving technology of brain scanning and the increasing public interest of meditation, there are more and more scientific studies that involves brain scanning that are trying find out more about meditation. During one study, a group of meditators and non-meditators that shares the same age and the same education level had brain scans. It is found that the meditators’ ventral posteromedial cortex, the part of the brain that relates to mind wandering, is found much more stable. In other words, the brain scans should that the minds of meditators don’t wander as easily.
Meditation Reduce Your Ego
One of the biggest benefits I have from meditation is that my ego can hugely reduced. This is because that meditation allows me to clear my mind. A clear mind allows me to see things clearly and see what are things that I am trying to do that is purely ego-driven. There may be time that ego is good to us, but let’s just keep it simple and just say that ego is bad for us 99% of the time. Ego is not something evil though, it can be just something that you want to do because you want to get famous or you want to make yourself look smarter than everyone else. In fact, most of the time, my ego-driven thoughts don’t see like bad thoughts. It can be a nice startup idea but I just want to work on it because of the possible fame and coolness that comes with the process. I wouldn’t realize it is ego-driven unless my mind is very clear. I would have thought that I were trying to do something great to change the world, a lie that can harm myself and my potential investors. But how does reducing ego make me better at concentrating. I am telling you that it helps a lot. Do you remember when is the last time you can’t concentrate at your work at all? It is probably due to another job you want to take or another business idea that you want to work on. I would say that 90% of the time, there ideas of starting a new business or switching to a seemingly more exciting job are ideas that are ego-driven. By having a clear mind and being able to reduce a lot of these useless thoughts, you will find it much easier to concentrate at work.
In summary, meditation can really make you concentrate better. You can actually feel that if you are patient enough to stick to it until you see the effect, probably after months of daily meditation. There are enough evidence from brain scans that shows that this is not only a feeling but it is very likely to be facts.