Learn to Focus with Yoga Psychology

by Swami Sitaramananda

Yoga psychology analyzes different mental states to find ways to overcome the distracted mind and learn to focus.  If we can do this it will lead to peace, bliss, and true freedom.
Yoga psychology understands that the mind is only our instrument of perception and it is not ultimately our-self. Therefore, improving the quality of the instrument of perception will improve our outlook on ourselves and the world around us.  Therefore, this will ultimately lead to a clearer vision, where we learn to focus, have a connection to our purpose, and experience true freedom.

Meditation at Siva Hill Temple.

Gathering the Toughts

Learning to focus is the mental process of gathering of the thought waves and letting go of distractions. The waves of the mind-lake and the distractions are still there but there is an attempt to remain focused and not to completely lose oneself. As a matter of fact, Yoga Psychology states that if we can remain in that focused state of mind, we will get to a one-pointed, super-concentrated state.  Moreover, this super-concentrated state will not come if we do not commit ourselves to choose the real Self as opposed to the distractions or illusions.

Yoga Psychology states that if we can remain in that focused state of mind, we will get to a one-pointed, super-concentrated state.
In that super focused state of mind, we can eventually transcend totally the waves of the mind – the illusory projections, desires and reactions- and move from that one conscious thought of “I” to a state of being, merged with the background of thought, which is this ocean of uninterrupted, unconditioned bliss. Of course, this is a sentence charged of meaning and we would need to understand this very clearly.
Above left: Swami Vishnudevananda

Above right: Swami Vasishtananda

Yoga Psychology

You cannot go from the scattering distracted state of mind to the absolute stillness – absorbed state. In fact, from the jumping state you can’t go directly to the suspension of thought, perfect contentment or to the state of one-pointed focus on purpose and of Self. Actually, you must first go through the gathering state where we have to calm down and gather the thoughts. Why can’t people do this? Right there you have a hurdle. You know the mind is jumping, so why can’t you just come to a one-pointed state? Why is it so difficult?

In Yoga psychology we say it is because of the illusion of something external from you. This illusion of the external is a projection, which is due to a lack of understanding and conviction. The proof of this is that we are not happy. We get what we want but then we go after another thing, acquire it, and then again go after something else, and still we are not happy. Moreover, we think this is the normal kind of thing, a normal state, just “life”.

Stick to the Practice

We think we will miss out on life if we become focused or if we become committed to something. In fact, this is what our society lacks, a sense of commitment. This so-called freedom that we grew up with that says, “If I don’t like something I can dump it and move on to something else.” Never committing to anything is the general mindset. Actually, when you don’t commit to things it makes the mind jumpy and because the mind is so conditioned, it does not know how to focus, and thus we are lost in our own self created illusions.


In conclusion, by understanding our different mind states, consciously letting go and taking time to learn to focus and refocus, commit and recommit, we can get to what we truly want. Paradoxically, we would have to surrender our sense of freedom to do what we like and keep our mind one pointed, in order to be free.

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© Swami Sitaramananda 2018 – No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author.


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