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Read more about Attention from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What Is Attention?

It is to bring back all the scattered threads of consciousness to a single point, a single idea. [1] This faculty of concentration belongs not only to the intellectual but to all activities and is obtained by the conscious control of the energies.[2]

Inner Attention

It [concentration of the inner consciousness] can happen in several forms. It can become concentrated in silence as the witness—it can become concentrated in the feeling of the Divine Force flowing through it, the work being a result—it can become concentrated in the feeling of the presence of the Divine or the Ananda or love of the Divine while the working goes on separately in front. All this becomes so habitual that it goes on of itself without the need of call or effort or even of the mind's attention—it simply is there. There are other possibilities besides those mentioned above, but these are perhaps the most common. [3]

Why Attention Is Necessary?

The aim in the training is to develop this power of concentrating the attention at will on whatever subject or activity one chooses from the most spiritual to the most material, without losing anything of the fullness of the power,—for instance, in the physical field, transferring the use of the power from one game to another or one activity to another so as to succeed equally in all. [4]

To Save Time

When you work, if you are able to concentrate, you can do absolutely in ten minutes what would otherwise take you one hour. If you want to gain time, learn to concentrate. It is through attention that one can do things quickly and one does them much better. If you have a task that should take you half an hour—I don't say if you have to write for half an hour of course—but if you have to think and your mind is floating about, if you are thinking not only of what you are doing but also of what you have done and of what you will have to do and of your other subjects, all that makes you lose thrice as much time as you need to do your task. When you have too much to do, you must learn how to concentrate exclusively on what you are doing, with an intensity in your attention, and you can do in ten minutes what would otherwise take you one hour. [5]

To Achieve Success

It is said that the faculty of concentrated attention is at the source of all successful activity. Indeed the capacity and value of a man can be measured by his capacity of concentrated attention. [6] Those who can attain perfect attention succeed in everything they undertake; they will always make a rapid progress. [7]

To Progress Spiritually

If one is very attentive, one becomes conscious. One must be very concentrated and very attentive, then one becomes conscious. [8]

Particularly, if you have continued to cultivate the power of concentration and attention, only the thoughts that are needed will be allowed to enter the active external consciousness and they then become all the more dynamic and effective. And if, in the intensity of concentration, it becomes necessary not to think at all, all mental vibration can be stilled and an almost total silence secured. In this silence one can gradually open to the higher regions of the mind and learn to record the inspirations that come from there. [9]

How to Cultivate Attention?

When you have a question to solve, whatever it may be, usually you concentrate your attention here (pointing between the eyebrows), at the centre just above the eyes, the centre of the conscious will. [10]

The best thing to do is to occupy yourself with something practical which will compel you to concentrate specially: studies, work or some physical occupation for the body which demands attention―anything at all that forces you to concentrate on what you are doing and no longer be a prey to these ramblings. But if you have the misfortune to remain there and look at them, then surely, as I said, you will get a headache. For it is a problem which must be resolved either by a descent into practical life and a concentration on some practical effort or else by rising above and looking from above at all this chaos so as to be able to bring some order into it and set it right. [11]

Reducing Distractions

When you are doing your work, you should concentrate only on your work and not on the people—there is no need to speak to them or pay any attention to them. [12]

But there is another way—to concentrate one's attention and one's energy, think only of what one is doing and not of anything else, not to make a movement too much, to make the exact movement in the most exact way [13]

By Regular Practice

There seems to be only one solution to the problem. In the same way as an athlete develops methodically his muscles by a scientific and gradual training, the faculty of concentrated attention can be developed scientifically by a methodical training—developed in such a way that concentration is obtained at will and on whatever subject or activity is chosen. Thus the work of preparation instead of being done in the subconscient by a slow and steady repetition of the same movements, is done consciously by a concentration of will and a gathered attention centred on one point or another according to plan and decision. The chief difficulty seems to be to obtain this power of concentration independent from all inner and outer circumstances—difficult perhaps but not impossible for him who is determined and persevering. Moreover, whatever method of development is chosen, determination and perseverance are indispensable to obtain success. [14]

Read more about Attention from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.