It is said that God is all-pervasive. This means that God lives in every part and pore of your body. Science believes that there are millions of cells in the body, and each one contains intelligence. What this means is that in every cell of the body the power of God resides. However, it lies dormant. All the gods and goddesses lie asleep in the body. This is because you do not practise meditation. Your consciousness is limited to eating, drinking, procreating and telling lies. It is limited to jagrita, swapna and sushupti. You are aware of only these three states of consciousness. You are either awake, or dreaming, or sleeping. You do not know of a fourth state. However, there is a fourth state of consciousness in a human being, called turiya, which is a higher consciousness. This higher consciousness can be acquired by the practice of one-pointedness of mind.
When one slowly rises above the three states of jagrita, swapna and sushupti during dhyana and a new sky takes birth in him, the consciousness awakens. Then the experiences are different. The individual acquires an understanding of the three states and the wire of turiya gets connected.
Every day, concentrate your mind on one point for a short while. One does not go mad or acquire bloodshot eyes by practising concentration of mind. When you mix sugar in water, the water turns sweet, but the sugar does not fill up the water. In the same way, this consciousness remains what it is, but due to one-pointedness something awakens and the higher consciousness becomes one with the lower consciousness. Due to this you are able to take correct decisions, even with regard to your material life. Your dreams are good, you get very good and deep sleep, and the waking state remains what it was you continue to do what you were doing, the farmer continues to farm, the doctor continues to be a doctor and a thief continues to steal. But the consciousness expands and influences the normal waking consciousness.
One has to make decisions in life; one has to decide about marriage and education. Those in whom the gods and goddesses are awakened take different kinds of decisions. Swami Vivekananda could have become a lawyer or professor, but he took the decision to dedicate his life to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa because some god or goddess had awakened in him and inspired him.
Therefore, twice every day, practise concentration for a short while. Ten minutes is enough, maximum twenty minutes. More than that is not required. Householder life is a life of balance. You have to balance everything, including your practices. So dont do it for too long.
Find your own method of concentration some focus better on the breath, some on the swara, some on a god or goddess, some on light, some on nada whatever your mind can focus on is your personal deity. The mind concentrates on and is also sometimes lost in the object of concentration. It is hard for the mind to get completely lost in it, but at least it should become concentrated in it for ten minutes.
Dharana, one-pointedness, means that your mind is occupied by something for a given time. And when the mind is lost in it, it is called nirodha or samadhi. That is hard. In one-pointedness, one is aware of what is happening around, of the external vibrations. But when the mind drowns it is a different experience. It is not like the drowning in sleep where the sounds disappear; in samadhi the sounds continue, but become very faint. This is the difference between sleep and samadhi. In both you are not aware of the external world, so at a certain level, they are similar. But the real difference is that sleep is a state of void while the experience of a feeling continues in samadhi.
Even to attain mantra siddhi, perfection in mantra, the mind needs to be completely one-pointed. At that time, no other thing should come in the mind. Only when the mind acquires such concentration can one achieve mantra siddhi. It is very difficult to concentrate the mind. It is difficult because the mind is contained in the body and when the mind is concentrated, it affects the body. It affects the heart, the blood pressure, the brain. You could go into depression. I know many sadhus who were subjected to this.
Once I was doing my chaturmaas in Madhya Pradesh. The people I was staying with had a cook who would bring me my food every day. He got very inspired by me, left everything and went away. When he returned after six years, he had turned completely wooden, he could not understand anything. This happened because he did a lot of sadhana on his own. Now, to practise sadhana you have to train your body. The mind and body must be pure. In addition, your DNA must be of the kind that can withstand the effects of sadhana. Most of us have a very poor quality DNA. So even if you practise concentration, you may not be able to tolerate it. When the mind is brought into an alpha state from theta and delta, then the blood pressure falls very low. That brings in depression. One cannot think or walk, the eyes simply stare into space. So this kali yuga is not the age of intense concentration. Practise only a little bit of concentration, remember Gods name and work for the good of others.