When it comes to sit-down spiritual practices, the basis of all of them is concentration. It is essential to develop the skill of concentration if we want to go deeper with meditation, or achieving the conscious astral split etc. Without learning to focus the mind on one thing alone, we cannot go very far with spiritual exercises.
Concentration is developed gradually, and there are two good exercises for it – one is done in daily life and another as a sit-down practice. The one that is done in daily life entails trying to be concentrated on activity at hand. For example, if we are typing something on computer, or playing tennis, or cleaning the house…..whatever it may be, we just aim to be concentrated on that activity alone.
The second exercise is done as a sit-down practice. For that you can dedicate a certain amount of time only for concentration. There are different approaches, such as splitting the practice in two or three parts, each consisting of 5 or 10 minutes of concentration, and reflecting for a moment after the first one and then improving the second one etc. Or having very short exercises, like one or two minute each, aiming to have continuous concentration during this time.
Concentration can also develop during our regular spiritual exercises, but it is important to have as the goal to try to reach the state of continuous concentration; firmly deciding that during any spiritual practice we will only focus on the practice at hand; nothing else is important during that time that we allocate to the practice, and therefore no thought should be given allowance to distract us.
In this way the ability of concentration will develop, helping us with not only achieving spiritual experiences through various practices, but also improving the quality of our day to day life.