If you want to succeed, if you want to develop, you need to focus, you need to concentrate your attention to a particular piece. Piece after piece, bit after bit, handling them one by one, you’ll do your best with focusing your little individual spotlight to little individual parts of the work and eventually it’ll be accomplished spontaneously.
Center your awareness and listen to one voice in order to understand it clearly, otherwise you’ll confuse them all. You can later merge them together to come up with a bigger composition. Moving a mountain requires you to start with little stones. Little individual lives require breaking up into pieces and carrying out one by one.
Once upon a time in a Buddhist monastery, after a talk on meditating, which is literally trying to do “nothing”. A man came to the Zen master and inquired about his problems. It seemed that the man didn’t have enough time to finish the works he has. Whereas all that Zen master did was to preach about meditating. The Zen master again, suggested meditating for one hour a day. Along with that, he added: meditate for an hour if you have time, if you don’t have time “meditate for two hours.”
It’s not about timing or opportunities. It’s about missing the point. If you have problems, you have more desires than you can handle. If you focus on things one by one, the solution will be clear ahead of you even if it’s a hard labour. You just need to concentrate and break it up into pieces. If this is a theoretical problem, analyse and disintegrate it to be able to see the inside.
Civilization is result of a division of labour. Society has emerged with work-sharing. Some people did some particular work and the others are occupied with other jobs. Some has baked breads, some has crafted armour, some has produced videos and some others have commited evil. It’s all division of labour.
You need to focus if you want to accomplish and do your best. You can’t wear more than one hat, you can’t carry two watermelons with one hand, you can’t listen to three pieces of music, you can’t look at five paintings altogether. Multi-tasking may be good for getting rid of things at a moment but in general your life is a concentration. An individual is a concentrated element of the society. That’s why we have proffesions, occupations. Even if you do multi-tasking, remember you’re missing the enjoyable parts and opportunities to develop.
It’s more important to know what to ignore than to learn. You have to ignore the vast universe, you’ll need to unknow billions of things in order to know a little bit. It’s all about bits and pieces. You’re a bit and you’re expected to have a grasp of a bit, your side of things.
A fellow went to a Zen master and said, “If I work very hard, how soon can I be enlightened?” The Zen master looked him up and down and said, “Ten years.” The fellow said, “No, listen, I mean if I really work at it, how long—” The Zen master cut him off. “I’m sorry. I misjudged. Twenty years.” ”Wait!” Said the young man, “You don’t understand! I’m—” “Thirty years,” said the Zen master.
Zen practice is all about doing what you do. Doing one thing at a time is also another essential suggestion for seekers. In this case the man is not only working, he’s also desiring. It’s not the way for enlightenement. There isn’t a shortcut for enlightenment, especially in the way of Zen, the study of doing the thing you do.
A champion archer challenged a Zen master for archery. The champion hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. The master is undisturbed, and invited the champion to the mountain. They reached a dangerous cliff. On the narrow edge of the cliff, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. The champion was in a terror of this cliff, it was a bottomless abysss. He just couldn’t concentrate. He could not shoot. “You have skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s demise, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”
You may overcome multiple jobs and handle a number of things at a time. Carrying out, going through the work does not mean mastering it. Perfection lies in concentration. That’s why we have jobs, unlike the primitive communities who learn all crafts in order to survive, we have professions just to enable other people to focus on their labour and do their best. This way, we create marvels, we attain the unattainable through breaking it up.
Preparing an ant colony for winter is an impossible task for an ant but when individual ants do their parts, it’s easily realized. Sending men to other planets is a collosal task, but when individual professors do their parts, it’s easily accomplished. Building highways is impossible for an individual, but thanks to division of labour making everyone to accomplish a bit of the task, we have endless highways throughout the world. Ants and men are also happier in this regard. They accomplished unattainable jobs through being a part of a higher group and did their own share through concentrating on their business.
A job is a concentration, a day is a concentration, an individual and universe as well, concentration of matter. What is the matter with me? if you happen to ask, the matter is concentration, concentrate.