Chapter 2: Meditation: A Jumping Board to Your Being
A word is needed only when there is something to say, something to designate. In English there are three words: the first is concentration. I have seen many books written by very well-meaning people but not people who have experienced meditation. They go on using the word concentration for dhyana - dhyana is not concentration. Concentration simply means your mind focused on one point; it is a state of mind. Ordinarily the mind is continuously moving, but if it continuously moves you cannot work with the mind on a certain subject.
For example, in science concentration is needed; without concentration there is no possibility of science. It is not strange that science has not evolved in the East - I see these deep inner connections - because concentration was never valued. For religion something else is needed, not concentration.
Concentration is mind focused on one point. It has its utility, because then you can go deeper and deeper into a certain object.
That’s what science goes on doing: finding more and more about the objective world. A man with a mind which is continuously roaming around cannot be a scientist. The whole art of the scientist is that he is capable of forgetting the whole world and putting his whole consciousness on one thing. And when the whole consciousness is poured into one thing then it is almost like concentrating sun rays through a lens: then you can create fire.
Those rays themselves cannot create fire because they are diffused; they are going farther away from each other. Their movement is just the opposite of concentration. Concentration means rays coming together, meeting on one point; and when so many rays meet on one point they have enough energy to create fire. Consciousness has the same quality: concentrate it and you can penetrate deeper into the mysteries of objects.
I am reminded of Thomas Alva Edison - one of the great scientists of this country. He was working on something so concentratedly that when his wife came with his breakfast she saw that he was so much involved that he had not even heard her coming. He had not even looked at her, he was not aware that she was there, and she knew that this was not the right time to disturb him. “Of course the breakfast will get cold but he will be really angry if I disturb him - one never knows where he is.”
So she simply put the breakfast by his side so that whenever he came back from his journey of concentration he would see the breakfast and take it. But what happened? In the meantime a friend dropped by - he also saw him so concentrated. He looked at the breakfast getting cold and said, “Better let him do his work. I should finish the breakfast first, it is getting cold.” He ate the breakfast and Edison was not even aware that this friend was there and had eaten his breakfast.
When he returned from his concentration, he looked around, saw the friend and saw the empty plates. He told the friend, “Please forgive me. You came a little late and I have already taken my breakfast.” Obviously, because the plates were finished somebody had eaten, and who else could have eaten it? He must have! The poor friend could not understand what to do. He was thinking to give him a surprise but this man had given him a bigger surprise: he said, “You came a little late..”