Prolonged One-Pointedness & Prolonged Awareness
Have you every been in a situation where you were reading a book or a newspaper when somebody called you? You did not respond because you were not even aware that you were being called. Why? Because you were very focused on what you have been reading.
Have you experienced repeatedly calling a friend at a distance and the person did not respond? Or you were involved in a group discussion and nobody was listening, because everybody was so focused on what they wanted to say? This is called concentration.
Concentration is “prolonged focusing” or “prolonged one-pointedness”. Many yoga books place a lot of emphasis on prolonged focusing or one-pointedness. If you use concentration only, you will not achieve enlightenment. Why? Because if you cannot hear the loud voice of your friend, how can you hear the whisper of your higher soul? If you cannot hear the voice of the person beside you, how can you hear the “sound of silence”? How can you hear the “inner OM”?
When a woman says that a man is sensitive, it does not mean that the man is a crybaby. It means that the man is aware of the woman’s needs and feelings, so he tried to behave and act in a certain way to make the woman happy.
Have you ever experienced getting irritated with your spouse, while your spouse may not even know that you are angry until you exploded? This shows lack of sensitivity. These conditions apply to both men and women. They can be insensitive to the feelings and needs of their partners.
To be successful in one’s spiritual practice, one must not only practice prolonged one-pointedness or concentration. One must also practice prolonged sensitivity or awareness. The concept of prolonged awareness is almost non-existent in western culture. This is why there is not single word to describe this state.
In India, the word dhyana is used to describe prolonged awareness. Even in India this concept is hardly understood by most spiritual practitioners or meditators. From India, dhyana was brought to China by Bodhidharma and it is called Chan in Chinese. The Shaolin monks of Southern China brought Chan to Japan, and there it is called Zen in Japanese.
Dhyana, Chan, or Zen means “prolonged awareness”. Since there is no available English word, we will also use the word meditation to mean prolonged awareness.
Reference : Achieving Oneness with the Higher Soul. Master Cho Kok Sui.