Question: Is concentration one of the spiritual practices?
Ramana: Concentration is not thinking of one thing only. Rather, it is the putting off of all other thoughts which obstruct the vision of our true nature. All our efforts are only directed towards lifting the veil of ignorance. Now it appears difficult to quell the thoughts, but in the regenerated state, it will be found more difficult to activate them! Why should we think of these things? There is the Self alone. Thoughts can function only if there are objects – but there are no objects, so how can thoughts arise at all? Habit makes us believe that it is difficult to cease thinking. If this error were discovered, one would not be so foolish as to exert oneself unnecessarily.
When attention is directed towards objects and intellect, the mind is aware only of these things. That is our present state. But when we attend to the Self within, we become conscious of It alone. It is therefore all a matter of attention. Our mind has been attending to external things for so long, that the latter have enslaved it and drag it hither and thither. If the mind wanders, we must at once realize we are not the body and enquire, "Who am I?" and the mind must be brought back to realize the Self. Thus all evils are destroyed and happiness is realized.
The Self is like a powerful magnet hidden within us. It draws us gradually to Itself, though we imagine we are going to It of our own accord. When we are near enough, It puts an end to our other activities, makes us still, and then swallows up our own personal current, thus killing our personality. It overwhelms the intellect and floods the whole being. We think we are meditating upon It and developing towards It, whereas the truth is that we are like iron-filings and It is the Self-magnet that is pulling us towards Itself. Thus the process of finding Self is a form of divine magnetism.