The Noble Eightfold Path, Part Eight (an introduction, as I understand it…)
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration
The final principle on the eightfold path, right concentration, is concerned with developing a focused state of mind. Concentration is developed through meditation; and, through practice, this concentration can be maintained in everyday life. The intent of right concentration is to focus on wholesome thoughts and actions; to intensify concentration in a willful effort to raise the mind to a higher and more purified state of awareness (an assassin’s focus on a victim can be the epitome of human concentration, but is not the intent of right concentration).
The Buddha likened the untrained mind to a fish flopping on dry land; the mind tends to be distracted, straying from thought to thought, prone to distractions, perceiving a distorted, fragmented reality. In contrast, the mind trained in meditative concentration engenders a peaceful, serene mind that is able to observe an unfiltered reality.
Concentration is attained in stages, but begins with focus — meditation — on an object; if (when) the mind strays, the meditator notices, and gently, calmly, brings attention back to the object (the breath as it passes the inside edges of the nostrils is one common ‘object’ for meditation).
Meditation is essential, and it is useful even if Buddhism doesn’t interest you (meditation is certainly not a unique, Buddhist invention).
It is best to begin on the right path: if you plan on embarking on a meditation practice, I recommend seeking an instructor; however, there are innumerable books on the subject; and, if you search carefully and selectively, there are good resources on the web (I would suggest you also search for abdominal breathing techniques, or diaphragmatic breathing techniques).
I wish you success on your journey.
May you be filled with loving kindness
May you be well
May you be peaceful and at ease
May you be happy