3 ways to cultivate inner peace – Dharana

Tracey discusses the power of listening and concentration as a path to inner peace.

inner peace

This is the second of a 3 part series. Part one discusses Pratyahara and Part 3 looks at Samadhi.

Concentrate and listen (Dharana)

There is a message that is constantly being spoken by the world around us. It is in a wordless language that can only be heard by direct experience.

There is a message that is constantly being spoken by the world around us. It is in a wordless language that can only be heard by direct experience. It is a message of loving and living, within which everything we need to know is contained, and all we need to do is hear it. It is impossible to hear this message or even know it exists, however, when our attention is caught up in the internal and external noise.

Once an internal quiet space is established, it is helpful to cultivate concentration, or Dharana, in order to focus the mind and bring it into the present moment. The breath is a great place to start with this.

Breath by breath

By concentrating on the felt presence and sensation of the breath, one breath at a time, the mind becomes focused away from the noise and into the present moment. By cultivating great interest in the breath and the process of breathing, the mind becomes still and steady. Instead of the mind carrying our attention off in different directions, it is our awareness which decides how and where to apply the mind.

Eventually, when 100% of our attention rests on the breath (and this can take quite a long time, perhaps years, so it must be approached with a light and loving curiosity), there comes a state of true meditation where there is only breath. Nothing else. And within the full and true knowing of breath lies the direct experience of the sweetness and peace of Life in its truest essence.

The breath is one example of a tool for concentration, but there are countless others. It is up to you to find the one that works best according to your nature.

By cultivating concentration with a loving and playful attitude, a listening arises which goes way beyond what we do with our ears. It is with this inner listening that we can hear and experience Life’s message, not only in each and every breath, but also in everything that exists.

Practisingone pointed focus – training the mind

Dharana is the practice of one-pointed focus on a object, breath, sound. It is where we train the mind to concentrate and not go off in a million directions jumping from thought to thought, reacting, commenting and judging. Try this out with Marlene…

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Tracey Cook
Tracey CookThrough the transformational tools of meditation, Pranayama, philosophy, self-inquiry, and silence, Tracey encourages students to reveal the profound truths, which reside deep within their own hearts. Tracey has lived and shared the practice of yoga for over 15 years in SE Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. She currently lives in Australia with her family.