Concentration: An Approach to Meditation
This perennial best-seller by a distinguished educator assembles 36 mental and physical exercises for taming the natural drifting of the mind. Newly designed edition of a practical manual for success.
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Q. What brought you to read a book originally published early in the 20th century?
A. I saw Ernest Wood's name mentioned in a publication of the American Theosophical Society, dated in 1973. I looked his name up in my local library and found this book and a book on yoga. I skimmed the book on yoga and then tried to read this one.
Q. You tried but failed?
A. It's not the kind of book you can just read through and comprehend. It's more like a short textbook or an instruction manual. Wood writes in what people today might call a somewhat stilted style, which could cause a slow reading pace, also.
Q. But is it worth reading?
A. It's worth purchasing and holding for repeated study. A one-time reading may not do it. It is full of pertinent suggestions and exercises on concentration and on meditation. Since I had a due date to return the book, I read the first half as thoroughly as I could and then skimmed the second half.
Q. Can you cite some pertinent excerpts?
A. Yes. Wood writes on page 4: Do we not find that indecision, trepidation, anxiety and worry give rise to bodily ills, weakness, indigestion and sleeplessness? Even in these small matters regular practice of control of mind, in a simple form, acts like a magic cure. It is the best means of escape from envy, jealousy, resentment, discontent, delusion, self-deception, pride, anger and fear.
Page 28: The world is full of a number of things...The senses at any moment present a quantity of these to me. I cannot grasp all these at once, but to have clarity and sanity I must confine my attention to only a few of them.
Page 55: Just as he is not built with the capacity to attend to everything that strikes his senses...so he is not able to alter the whole of it at any time. He has to decide what part of his environment he will accept as it is and what part he will alter.
This last quote, to me, is extremely important, and Wood emphasizes it throughout this book: Concentrate on your own mind and the rest of the world will fall into place of its own accord. In this, he resembles the American spiritual teacher, Vernon Howard, who died in 1992. I study Vernon's works every day. And, if I ever find a copy, I intend to study this book by Wood every day, also.