In raja yoga, Dharana (Concentration) means one pointedness of the mind according to the will of individual. It can also be translated as "holding steady".
It is the initial step of deep meditation, sadhak has to choose some target upon which he can concentrate. It helps sadhak to weld his attention upon. A target may be anything that give tranquility and serenity to the mind eg. A photograph of any deity, A point on the wall, etc…
There are many methods of practicing Dharana, here we will do dharana on the picture of Om. Om is a bija mantra, these Mantras are handed down since ancient times by religious seers who had attained self- realization by chanting them, mantras are words or syllables in Sanskrit which when repeated in meditation helps you transcend into a higher state of consciousness. As sound energies that have always existed the universe, they cannot be created or destroyed and command the power to heal you physically & spiritually. At the very basic level mantras help you to concentrate in meditation. And once you enter its auspicious circle, the mind instantly gets focused.
Kindly see Basic Elements For Meditation Method
Sit in comfortable position such as Padmasan, Swatikasan or Siddhasan.
You should be comfortable and stable
Breathe deeply for 5 times that will calm you down.
Now fix your eyes on the picture of Om in front of you. The picture should be at the eye level and placed under sufficient light. Whenever the eyes try to avert itself beyond the picture, an effort should be made to lock it on the picture again. The mind generally follows the eyesight, so fixing of the gaze will result in locking the mind too.
Now be relaxed and gently begin the Japa of Om. It’s pronunciation is "ooohmmm" or "aaaaummm". It is better to know proper pronunciation (consult any expert).
In this practice sensory organs i.e. the eyes, the tongue and the ears concentrate on only one subject of Om, so the mind that chases the sensory perceptions, gets firmly engaged on Om. As the tongue is engaged in the japa of Om, the mind will follow the tongue and will restrict its movement towards Om. The japa is automatically heard by the ears and as such again felt by the mind.
Dharana has a lot of benefits,
It is a soothing, pleasurable stage giving intense satisfaction and peace of mind.
By acquiring this power, the individual becomes master of his own mind and control his mental fluctuations.
The daily practice of dharana reduces the wavering attitude of mind and a different kind of peace can be observed throughout the day. The mental strength increases. With such habitual concentration, the work is done effectively and efficiently.
The involvement of mind becomes selective and for some desirable purpose. Meaningless and workless attachment is cut out. When this power of concentration is achieved through proper training, it has a grate curative effect over the conditions of mental sickness.
Concentration on External Points
Concentration on Internal Points
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Alterations in auditory middle latency evoked potentials during meditation on a meaningful symbol-"Om".
Longitudinal impact of mindfulness meditation on illness burden in solid-organ transplant recipients.
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