Many ancient scriptures and spiritual methods - from the Yoga Sutra's, to the Buddhist Eightfold Path, to Taoism, the list goes on - speak about one-pointed focus as one of the key steps on the path of liberation.
But how to understand this term?
Should we be able to laser our focus onto one point like a Shaolin monk finds the perfect middle-line of a brick that he is about to punch in half?
Should we for hours at a time keep breath awareness as a necessary step to even get a chance at enlightenment?
If you have any experience with meditation you will have surely found out yourself that to stabilize the mind is not an easy job. In our first moments of meditation, even after years, we might find that the mind has lots of momentum, is very scattered, and uncontrollably jumps from one thought to the next, lost in endless associations.
So to use a method like mantra repetition, body-scanning, or concentration on the breath, we train what the Buddhists call the monkey-mind, to keep concentration on single objects for prolonged periods of time - which in and of itself is a very rewarding practice that brings a lot of peace to our mind.
If you are totally new to meditation, and can't sit still for more than a few minutes or even seconds, these kind of concentration practices will be really beneficial and most likely crucial for you to progress.
In turn, this singular focus on objects (considering mantra's, breath, body as objects in this case) will open the door to higher states of consciousness and object-less meditation.
This experience of object-less meditation is where analogies of the void, the open sky, emptiness, et cetera, come from. This void, this emptiness - that is fullness at the same time - this oneness - or non-separateness - is one of the highest aims of most spiritual traditions.
Undivided presence; Sat-Chit-Ananda; Reality-Consciousness-Bliss
This can all sound quite exotic and far-out, but for most people, this is something that they are probably already familiar with in their own way.
Think of all the times that you were mesmerized by a beautiful view of a sun-set;
Think of orgasms;
Or if you ever experimented with MDMA, think of the high while dancing to a techno-beat while peaking in your serotonin.
Even if it was short, you got totally absorbed, forgot about yourself, yet where totally awake at the same time, and experienced bliss.
Or, if you are a spiritual practitioner; think of the times where your practice brought you to a really profound place inside yourself, where thoughts subsided and you felt free.
That was a glimpse of oneness. It is not just there in the end.
To think of enlightenment or oneness as some kind of great state that we will one day wake up into and never come out of would be a mistake.
It is more directly available, and experienced much earlier on the path.
The only problem is that most of us come down a lot, and don't end up staying in oneness.
So, how to 'get' to this oneness?
Well, first of all 'getting' it, or achieving it, is a very politically incorrect way to say it in spiritual circles 😋.
And in general, it is not really correct. As this oneness is not seperate from us; we have never not had it and it's impossible to lose it. We only fail to see it.
Coming back to the purpose of a single-pointed mind here:
If the mind is too scattered, we won't get far in 'getting' to oneness.
The mind will throw one thought after another, one like and dislike after another.
And so the mind will cloud our vision too much and pull our mind left and right too much to be able to perceive our deepest spiritual nature.
But, by learning to concentrate, even if its only for more than a few seconds at a time, and letting the mind stabilize a little bit, we might already find that we can relax our object-focussed concentration, and withdraw our awareness away from objects, into subject-mode;
Where we are left with a pure experience of simply existing.
Of 'I am' without words.
Where there is no cause or effect; nothing else but the present moment; where there is no way out of the here and now - choiceless presence.
Where there are no concepts to describe all of this.
Where the subject and object of experience are known as one. Where you lose your mind and where the universe becomes your mind.
Where consciousness becomes non-localized and center-less.
Thoughts come and go but are not entertained
The sounds of the birds, the temperature of the body, the view of life that unfolds in front of your eyes, are all that is left.
Here, in a full state of surrender, awareness gently flows how it wants to flow, it is not controlled.
We lose all sense of doership, and it is the universe using our set of eyes and our pair of ears to look and hear itself; to be absorbed in itself. It is god looking at its own creation.
If you are already more experienced, in your next practice, experiment with this:
Concentrate fully, but only for a some while, say anywhere from as little as one minute to 15 minutes, using your personally preferred concentration method - breath awareness, body scanning (Vipassana), or mantra repetition.
From there, when you notice some stability in your focus, and when the mind has lost most of its momentum, you can begin to withdraw your singular focus out, into the full background of consciousness.
Merge with the totality of your experience, all sense perceptions - sight, sound, touch, feelings and emotions - without clinging to anything, just letting it all come and go.
No techniques - the only commitment is to not let the mind wander in language, concepts and associations.
Being nothing, doing nothing, wanting nothing.
Being still, allowing everything to be as it is, and bringing the mind back.
A glimpse of non-duality and emptiness.
Tantric intimacy with the fullness of Life.
Totally one-pointed focus of everything at the same time.
Find a guided practice on Youtube for this meditation.