Concentration is like an Anchor

Chapter II, Verse 67

Sri Nerode’s Translation:

67

For the mind that is steeped in the pleasures of the roving senses, drives away his discrimination and understanding, as a gale sweeps away a ship on the high seas.

Helpful Translation:

Without the anchor of concentration, the mind and intellect become enthralled by every passing thought. Fickleness of thought leaves the devotee at the mercy of the unbridled senses and their objects.

Commentary:

If you want to develop your ability to multi-task, learn to concentrate. The mind is only able to entertain one thought at a time, the average person is unaware of this because their thoughts come in quick succession and they assume that many thoughts are occurring simultaneously. Instead, thoughts are more like an the old-fashioned movie film where static pictures pass before the light of the projector at a rate of twenty-four frames per second. Early cinematographers discovered that this rate of visual imagery was the minimum required to create the illusion of smooth movement on the silver screen.

In the highest states of concentration, one is unaware of the senses and breaths slowly, if at all. Most students have had the experience where a friend is surprised during a state of deep focus on a text book or study task. Unaware of anyone approaching, until his concentration is broken.

The average person in the average job performs best if their tasks are repetitive. Repetitive tasks require less concentration. Repetition is shorthand to improve productivity by limiting one’s thoughts to the same or similar tasks. Repetitive tasks, however, are not great for one’s mental state or for their long-term vitality. The mind and body need the stimulation of new situations to stay alert and young.

Multi-tasking, addressing several different tasks in quick succession, requires an ability to let go of one activity and focus on the next one. Concentration is a form of internal discipline that most people have not developed. Teaching non-religious methods of concentration in the workplace as well as in schools is the way of the near future. There are many ways to teach concentration. All concentration techniques achieve the same goal of more tranquility in life and more productivity on the job.

Krishna tells Arjuna throughout the Bhagavad Gita to take action with right attitude and completely fixated on the task at hand. This series of verses extols the benefits of the single-pointed mind. Tranquility is necessary to end sorrows (verse 65). Concentration is necessary to achieve wisdom (verse 66). Lack of concentration carries away understanding (verse 67).

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

When considering Sanskrit and intonations, the subtle variations of outcomes in these three variations also apply to the outcomes of mantras.

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Ancient History

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