Concentration Takes Practice


Concentration is the result of focusing one’s attention. When a person intentionally chooses to pay attention to a level of thinking (conglomerate of related lines of thinking; see post: “Attention, Schema and Attitude in Understanding Reality”), he or she is concentrating on this rubric of his awareness. It might be tasks like reading, writing, watching TV, listening to a lecture, playing video games or even just having a conversation. Every different rubric of awareness, or level of thought, requires a different pattern of concentration.
Patterns of concentration can be cultivated by exercising them. They can also be lost by neglecting them. It is possible to cultivate the quality of one’s power of concentration (pattern of concentration) by exercising the pattern more and more often for longer and longer periods of time. Medicaments, including alcohol and Ritalin, can affect a person’s pattern of concentration; however, the effect is not easily controllable by the person taking the substance so it is a risky assumption to make that taking a pharmaceutical will help with concentration issues and will achieve the desired result. However, medicaments prescribed by an attending physician may be helpful in qualified situations, and when the medicaments are taken as prescribed, they might be helpful.
Thus, looking at these reflections about concentration, we might wonder: are different patterns of concentration arranged in a hierarchy of powers of concentration, or do they lie somewhere on a graph with axes of awareness and attitude (negative and positive; see “Attention, Schema and Attitude in Understanding Reality”)? And, if concentration is a cognitive power arranged on a hierarchy of ability, would all other activities which require less focused attention fall into place and become easier to accomplish by achieving a given pattern of concentration?
These are just a few questions to ponder. I will focus on a paradigm of attention and concentration that I call the SAP, or System for Analyzing Perceptions, in the coming months.


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