A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in constant unrest.
He asked his teacher, "Why most people's mind is restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still the mind?"
The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said, "I will tell you a story."
An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear.
The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more.
This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly, "Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"
The fly answered: "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"
The elephant stopped eating and said, "My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I get immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule and control my attention, and not the other way around."
Upon hearing these words, the disciple's eyes opened wide and a smile appeared on his face. He looked at his teacher and said, "I understand! The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind and the senses."
"Yes, that's right", answered the teacher, "Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction. The mind is powerful but restless; restless senses forcibly carry it away. Trying to control/restrain it is difficult but can be trained by practice of attention. By giving full attention to one thing at a time (to your intense noble interest, passion or curiosity), we can learn to direct our attention where we choose. And whatever we put our FULL attention to, will grow stronger in our life."
A person's accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of her/his attention and corresponding efforts. One principle reason why people so often found themselves not so useful is that they divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of trivial objects and pursuits. Life is denied by lack of attention and one learns something every day if she / he pays full attention to become more productive/useful. The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, magnificent world in itself inviting for infinite learning. There is no substitute to single-minded attention. To the mind that has attention at its fullest is Still to which the whole universe surrenders. Every moment deserves your full attention, for it will not pass your way again.
- Greg Anderson
a single object). But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace.
- Bhagavad Gita