WHY DOES A STUDENT LACK CONCENTRATION?
a. Perhaps he is unable to understand his lessons properly
b. Or, his brain needs to be nourished by nutritious food
c. Or, his family conditions maybe the cause of disturbance in his mind
d. Or, he is addicted to T.V. & cinema
e. Or, his mind might have started running after sense-pleasure
f. Or, he may be suffering from some chronic disease
g. Or, he is put up in a mismanaged hostel
h. Or, he lacks the minimum facilities for sitting & studying comfortably & quietly
i. Or, his mind has not grown properly
j. Or, he has fallen into bad company
k. Or, he does not like his subjects & his interest lies in something else
When the cause of the above problems is found out, finding a remedy will not be problem. Minds of the youth are like the Niagra Falls. A huge volume of water, gushing down from the heights of a mountain, flows around blindly & at last, having served no purpose, loses its identity in the sea. On the other hand, if a dam is built across its waters & made to flow in regulated canals, agricultural fields can be irrigated & a rich crop harvested. As Swami Vivekananda says, “A concentrated mind is really a searchlight. A searchlight makes it possible for us to see even the objects lying in distant, dark corners.” We come to know the fact that concentration is achieved by continuous striving. This was Lord Krishna's answer to Arjuna's question too: Practice Results in Perfection. What was Arjuna's query? "Krishna, the mind is very fickle; it is endlessly restless. It is powerful too. To keep it under control is equivalent to capturing the wind. How then can such a mind be brought under control?" Lord Krishna replies - "What you say is true, Arjuna. It is a fact that the mind is restless It is true that to keep it under control is no easy task. But listen to this important revelation: It is equally true that even such a fickle mind can be brought under control by the force of constant practice and detachment." Here we shall discuss how students must concentrate their minds upon studies, since this Editorial is especially meant for students.
1. Just as a yogi needs a firm & soft seat to sit upon while meditating, every student must have the facility of a chair and a table to enable him to spread books & study comfortably. The question, 'Did Sir M Visweswaraiah has a table & a chair during his student - days? Did he not become a world - renowned personality studying under the street light?' - This argument must not be brought in here. Surely, not all who read under the street lights can become Visweswaraiah as he was the exception.
2. Having sat down to read or write, one should not shake his body unnecess-
arily. A large number of students adopt odd postures while sitting down to study. There are others who go on gazing at something or the other, as though engrossed in deep thinking & chew their pens or pencils while at studies. There are many other such pretentious practices. All these are detrimental to concentration
3. That a single topic must be taken up for study at a given time, need not be specially mentioned. However, when a topic has been chosen, the mind should be kept immersed in it for at least one full hour. Merely reading through a book does not mean one has studied it. One must know the difference between merely reading a book & studying it. But concentration is one thing that is common to both - for reading as well as studying. A cursory reading of the book may enable the reader to know its synopsis. But studying thoroughly will enable the mind to descend into the depths of the contents of the book & grasp their true importance, often hidden. This will result in a good command over the subject matter & will also help further reading.
4. Once at the study - table with a topic for study, it is most important that the study be continued for a complete hour as said above. Usually the mind will not be prepared to instantly grasp a new subject. The various works we were engaged in during the course of the day, conversations we had with our friends & others or the thoughts that had occupied our minds just prior to taking up the present study, will still be active within. Hence, for the mind to get ready for the present study, a minimum of 8 to 10 minutes may be required. If the study is suddenly stopped just when the mind is entering the depths of the subject matter, concentration will be destroyed & the study damaged. So, after a few minutes when the mind comes to focus, the opportunity should be used for diving deeper & making a profound study.
5. During this period, a family member might call, with a request to attend to some other work. Therefore the inmates of the house must be told previously, "Please do not call me for an hour," because, then the study cannot be carried out with wholesome concentration
6. Then there is the problem of noise pollution. Students residing in cities, especially in capitals, have to encounter the evils of noise pollution. However much one tries to adapt to this inconvenience, when the loud - speakers begin to blare, the studies are soon disturbed. While the Festive celebrations are in progress, the ears are assailed by the rudest sounds for days together. Anyhow, there is a way of escaping noise pollution - the students must cultivate an intense desire to excel in studies. If there is this yearning in the mind, external noise will hardly be heard. For e.g., when a worry has overpowered our mind, even if a drum is beaten right beside us, we would not notice it. This yearning or urge is found to get intensified when the exams have approached. But if we nurture a strong ambition of excelling in the exams even while the exams are a long way off, we can develop a sort of concentration in studies.
7. There is yet another scheme whereby concentration in studies can be achieved - it is by paying good attention to the subject read. This alertness is called 'Avadhana'. It means keeping the mind wakeful & watchful. Most of the students are incapable of studying with attention because their minds remain suspended in a sort of dream - state or keep wandering aimlessly. Only he whose mind is wakeful succeeds in achieving concentration. Upon reading this, the question - 'How then can the mind be kept awake?' may crop up. Some helpful suggestions are given here.
a) The intake of certain kinds of food increases sleepiness. Such foodstuffs must be avoided.
b) The mind will remain energetic when the various organs of the body are kept clean; in addition, all personal things, including bed clothes and the clothing that is daily worn must be tidy.
c) All other things in the room & articles of daily use must be maintained with orderliness. This orderliness reveals the wakeful state of the mind assertively. Carelessness is what is seen in most students.
d) Students should know another important point - it is equally necessary to keep the mind clean. Indecent & vulgar thoughts should not only be denied entry into the mind, but also be prevented from passing in the mind's vicinity, because they are the very culprits who create havoc in the mind and spoil it.
e) Students must resolve within themselves like this: 'I shall fully study these portions within an hour's time', & feel anxious to complete the study of the portions within the allotted time. It might not be possible to finish the portions within the allotted time in the beginning, but with such eager efforts, possibility of the mind remaining awake increases.
8. Students desirous of developing concentration must desist from gossip, considering it to be as dangerous as poison. However, discussing the lessons with friends is definitely helpful.
9. Some students complain that when they try to concentrate they get headache. The main reason for this is that their brains do not have sufficient strength. In order to make the brain strong one should practice special yogasanas under the guidance of an expert. Tonics, Chyavanaprasha etc. may be taken along with nourishing food, as directed by a good Doctor. Milk, butter & ghee must be taken in right quantities everyday.
10. Another important means, conducive to attainment of concentration is faith - Shraddha. Faith cannot be obtained from outside, it is a virtue that must grow from within. Hanuman was capable of leaping over the ocean but he remained silent since he did not believe that the required strength was there in himself. But when Jambavantha aroused faith in Hanuman & made his strength known to him, he reached Lanka with one leap! Therefore “Believe in Yourself.”
11. There is another important key to concentration, the master - key and that is love. It is an unalterable law that the mind dwells in the objects of its liking. Hence it is essential that a student must develop love towards study. It is indeed a true sign of concentration if one is absorbed in studies to the extent of forgetting not only the surroundings but even his body!