Levels of achievement go hand in hand with the degree of concentration one applies to any given task. When starting a new activity or endeavor, one’s concentration tends to be high since we are in the learning phase. Once we gain some familiarity and approach a “knowing” phase, the level of concentration tends to decrease. Think about how much concentration you used when first learning to ride a bike compared to how much concentration you apply to riding the bike now that you “know” how to do it.
Progressing further from knowing something to being good at it requires greater concentration. From this point on, reaching a greater level of achievement (very good or impressive) is difficult and demands even higher concentration. Think about how the difference in concentration that you apply to riding a bike compares to someone who does BMX bike tricks. Which rider consistently applies a higher level of concentration while riding the bike? The vast majority of martial arts students struggle at achieving or surpassing the “good” stage and reach a plateau. Only with greater effort and deeper concentration (80%-90% or higher) can the journey to “very good” or “impressive” be reached.
Using concentration while practicing Ji Gam Meditation is essential. Just like with biking, if you reach up to a knowing level, your concentration level may quickly drop. If you clap your hands, shake them and bring them facing one another and concentrate on your palms, you will be able to feel subtle tingling and heat. At that level, someone who is learning may apply 60% concentration, while someone who already has felt that before, risks becoming distracted and less enthusiastic towards the training, thus experiencing a drop in focus. To grow that sense, one must apply 70% concentration or higher to feel further energetic sensations such as pulsing, magnetic forces and circulating energy between their palms. This will bring the meditation practitioner into a state of high concentration allowing them to feel impressed with their progress.
In applying concentration to meditation, anxious desire can serve as a barrier to reaching the goal of SungTong (The state of finding true self). There needs to be a balance because the ego can tell you that you experienced what you need to know and now it is time to move on to something else, perhaps prematurely. In Ji Gam meditation, experiencing the physical phenomena of tingling, warmth, and magnetic force can be quite exciting. Once it becomes familiar, it may seem pointless to practice. However, if one can trust in a teacher’s instruction that there are levels higher to go and focus on the training without overly seeking results, one can advance at the proper pace. If one thinks he/she already knows and/or doesn’t have the dedication to practice routinely, one cannot truly experience what the teacher has spoken about.
So a few important things to note on the topic of meditation:
- Have a teacher who is at high level of meditation himself/herself
- Even after experiencing some phenomena yourself, have enough intelligence and humility to know you still have improvements to make
- Have enough love and trust in your teacher to persistently continue the path, despite the sacrifice, time, and effort you will have to put in
- Remain present and enjoy the journey, rather than being anxious about reaching the destination.
Progress in reaching a high level of achievement can accelerate significantly if one sustains and builds on the level of concentration applied at the beginner level. In other words, do not drop your concentration level even as an activity becomes seemingly easier. By maintaining high concentration and sincerity you will reap the benefits much sooner than most and reach a level you did not think was possible.
— Lectured by Master Yoo
— Written by Hyun Sa Myung Duk (Drew Vanover), Ji Sun (Joe Lipman), Shin Min (Patrick Malonso) and Chun Shim (Carlos Stern)