The Mother commented this text on
23 December 1950
Concentration and Dispersion
Read the original in French:
Concentration et dispersion
In sporting activities those who want to be successful
choose a certain line or subject which appeals more to them and suits
their nature; they concentrate on their choice and take great care not
to disperse their energies in different directions. As in life a man chooses
his career and concentrates all his attention upon it, so the sportsman
chooses a special activity and concentrates all his efforts to achieve
as much perfection as he can in this line. This perfection comes usually
by a building up of spontaneous reflex which is the result of constant
repetition of the same movements. But this spontaneous reflex can be,
with advantage, replaced by the faculty of concentrated attention. This
faculty of concentration belongs not only to the intellectual but to all
activities and is obtained by the conscious control of the energies.
It is well known that the value of a man is in proportion to his capacity
of concentrated attention, the greater the concentration the more exceptional
is the result, to the extent that a perfect and unfailing concentrated
attention sets the stamp of genius on what is produced. There can be genius
in sports as in any other human activity.
Shall we then advise a limit to one action in order to achieve perfection
The advantages of limitation are well known, but it has also its inconvenience,
bringing narrowness and incapacity for any other line than the one chosen.
This is contrary to the ideal of a perfectly developed and harmonised
human being. How to conciliate these two contrary tendencies?
There seems to be only one solution to the problem. In the same way as
an athlete develops methodically his muscles by a scientific and gradual
training, the faculty of concentrated attention can be developed scientifically
by a methodical training developed in such a way that concentration is
obtained at will and on whatever subject or activity is chosen. Thus the
work of preparation instead of being done in the subconscient by a slow
and steady repetition of the same movements, is done consciously by a
concentration of will and a gathered attention centred on one point or
another according to plan and decision. The chief difficulty seems to
be to obtain this power of concentration independent from all inner and
outer circumstances -difficult perhaps but not impossible for him who
is determined and persevering. Moreover, whatever method of development
is chosen, determination and perseverance are indispensable to obtain
The aim in the training is to develop this power of concentrating the
attention at will on whatever subject or activity one chooses from the
most spiritual to the most material, without losing anything of the fullness
of the power, - for instance, in the physical field, transferring the
use of the power from one game to another or one activity to another so
as to succeed equally in all.
This extreme attention concentrated on a game or a physical activity like
lifting, vaulting, punching, running, etc., focussing all energies on
any of these movements which bring about in the body the thrill of an
exhilarating joy is the thing which carries with it perfection in execution
and success. Generally this happens when the sportsman is especially interested
in a game or an activity and its happening escapes all control, decision
Yet by a proper training of concentrated attention one can obtain the
phenomenon at will, on command, so to say, and the resulting perfection
in the execution of any activity follows inevitably.
This is exactly what we want to try in our Department of Physical Education.
By this process the result may come more slowly than by the usual method,
but the lack of rapidity will surely be compensated by a fullness and
richness in the expression.
in "Bulletin", April 1949
and in CWM, volume 12 "Education", pages
published by Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA
The Mother commented this
text on 23 December 1950