Points to Practice: Dedication as the Key to Focusing the Mind

Path of Action: Day 18

Most people think of dedication in a fairly casual way. They make a commitment, and then they dedicate themselves to meeting their commitment. But after a while, they may change their minds, or give up when they encounter obstacles, or get distracted by something else. Until the mind is really settled and stable, this is to be expected. Still, if you cannot make use of your dedication to concentrate your efforts for at least a couple of hours, you cannot expect to make good progress on your larger goals.

That is why it is important to learn to focus the mind.


To make this a specific practice, see if you can focus completely on a project for at least two hours. Notice all the little ways the mind tries to slip out from under this discipline. The next week, try to increase the time of concentration. Keep on in this way until you can concentrate without interruption for four hours.

That is about as long as most people can go, although meditators with a stable practice can go on longer. Just set out to improve little by little. You can do this in your work and also in your meditation. Each will support the other.

Remember that the results you get in your work are generally a good indication of how well you are focusing.

If you do not focus, you will make mistakes, and then the work will just have to be done over. Whatever is built up too quickly will collapse, but whatever is built with care and awareness will endure.


Path of Action, by Tarthang Tulku is an unpublished work. Please do not copy, remix or republish this post or any others in this series without express permission from Mandala Training.