Hello and welcome to episode 85 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about distractions. Why do children and adults get distracted? Why does it affect their work and what does Krishna have to say about it?
Today’s question comes from Kavita and she says “My son is in the 10th grade and his work seems to be suffering. He keeps getting distracted by things like email and social media. What can I do to help him?”
Thanks for the question it’s really a great one. We all get distracted. Children, adults, the whole world is distracted. Luckily there is always a solution to everything.
Krishna says “to know many things is ignorance. To know one thing is knowledge.” Distraction usually involves the many and concentration is usually about the one.
The first thing I want you to do is erase the word concentration from your mind. Concentration has killed the entire world. I want to replace the word concentration with attention. The word attention is so beautiful that you will never want to worry about concentration again.
So what is attention? I want to tell you a story about my time in school. When I was in school there were no mobile phones or technology but we still got bored when we weren’t interested in what the teachers had to say. The teacher would scream at us to pay attention to her. It was just before lunch time and we were more interested in food than what our teacher had to say.
We would hide food under our books and pass it to each other when the teacher was not looking. It was a funny time but the one thing that stuck with me is that no matter how much she shouted at us to pay attention it never worked. We just completely ignored her.
The problem was that the teacher didn’t really know what the word attention meant. If teachers and those on the boards of education knew the true meaning of the word attention then they would not make students study ten subjects in one day. They wouldn’t have hundreds of exams to sit through and stacks of research papers to write. All of this is because of that ridiculous word concentration.
Attention is energy
We have to realise that we are energy and not the body, mind and intellect and there will be attention when energy flows. Concentration is when the energy is forced and then you get tired. With concentration you can only focus on something for a certain amount of time before you get tired. When you divert your energy you will be able to focus for hours at a time.
The great ones are able to do long hours of intensive work because they focus on attention and not on concentration because with attention energy flows freely.
Think of it like water flowing in a river. This is what attention is like: an uninterrupted flow. Concentration is like a pond full of stagnant water. A pond can only hold so much water before it gets cloudy and murky. It is not constant like attention is. So attention is fresh and concentration is fatigued. This is why the whole world is so tired by the end of the day.
We need to teach students attention instead of concentration as that will be 100 times more useful and beneficial to them. Once you mater the art of attention you can master anything else in the world.
The first thing I would recommend would be for you to practice meditation. Meditation is all about attention with zero concentration involved. When you meditate you will erase the word concentration from your mind and it will be replaced with attention. When you meditate you will become the water. The water becomes whatever vessel it enters and you will be able to connect with your consciousness and all of your focus will be based on attention.
I want you to visualise a calm lake. When you visualise this lake you’ll initiate a chemical reaction inside of you and your vibrations will immediately be lifted. So that’s an important thing to remember: when there is attention there will be increased vibrations and with concentration eventually your vibrations will be lowered due to fatigue. Remember attention is natural and concentration is forced.
In the next episode I will discuss the 3 parts of meditation so you can read that next but for now I want to give you 3 tips that will really help your son to have attention instead of concentration.
Keep it simple
The first thing he needs to do is study in one hour blocks. Don’t worry about studying lots of material for hours on end. Give him one page of material to learnt in one hour. Either that or tell him to study only one chapter of a book. He needs to do one thing at a time and know that one thing really well before moving on to the next thing. Even if he only reads one page in that hour then that’s fine as long as he is learning to pay attention too and master that one page. Once he understands how energy flows he will be able to accomplish anything.
Last thing at night or first thing in the morning ask him to read one story or one fable. Then ask him to write a sentence on what he learn from the story and what its moral was. If he does this every day for thirty days it will really get his attention flowing. He will be really focused. Once it starts to flow he will be unstoppable. Think of it like surfing the internet. Instead of the mouse controlling you, which is what happens in concentration, you will be controlling the mouse because of your high vibrations from the flowing attention.
This is why Krishna says “fix your mind on me hence forth doubtless you shall reside in me.” Fix your mind on one thing not one hundred things. Just fix your mind on your consciousness.
Tell your son to keep things simple, focus on attention and forget the word concentration. If he can get that energy flowing he can do anything.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.