Period 26 – Concentration
Swami Vivekananda, in his childhood was playing a game called ‘meditation’ with his friends. In this game all the children would sit with closed eyes and everyone would think of some deity he liked most.
One day, when they were playing this game, one of them heard a soft sound. As he opened his eyes, he saw a big snake crawling on the ground and coming towards them. As he shouted, “Cobra! Cobra!” all except Vivekananda ran away shouting. All his friends started shouting asking him to get up and run. But he did not hear this shouting at all. He was sitting still with his eyes closed, thinking only of God. He did not know what was going on around him.
And what did the cobra do? It moved on the ground this way and that way and then went away. All his friends, parents as well as his neighbours were all surprised at his power of concentration and his love for God.
Because of this concentration, Vivekananda could remember his lessons clearly even with one or two readings. At college too, he was known as a bright scholar. This power helped him greatly.
Once, when he was at Chicago in America, he saw some young boys trying to shoot eggshells floating in the river. As the shells rode up and down on the small waves, the boys could not hit them. All the boys tried a number of times but all of them missed the target. They noticed that Vivekananda was watching them with keen interest. So, they called out to him, “You have been watching us all the time. Do you think you can do better?” Vivekananda gave them a smile and said that he would like to try. Taking the gun in his hand, he aimed at the eggshells, concentrating on the target for some time. Then he lifted the gun twelve times and hit an eggshell each time. The boys were struck with wonder on seeing Swamiji’s skill and asked, “well, Sir, how could you do this without any practice?” Vivekananda laughed aloud and said, “Well, well I will tell you the secret. Whatever you may be doing, concentrate all your attention on it. Think of nothing else. If you are shooting, keep your mind only on the target. Your aim will not fail. Concentration can work wonders. Even when you are studying, think of only the lesson in hand. What you read will then be almost printed in your memory.
- The children shut their eyes. The teacher drops pebbles in a tin box slowly
- A the children’s listening ability and concentration increases, gradually increase the number of pebbles and speed of dropping
- At the end each child can say how many pebbles there were
- Remind the children that they are competing against themselves, and not against each other