The early meditators classified concentration into two phases, and this analysis is very helpful. The first phase is called vitaka, and the second, vicara. Vitaka is the faculty of mind that enables us to pay attention to something; that is to say, to advert our attention—to move it toward something. Indeed, that is where the word advertising comes from. Advertising makes you advert your attention, capturing it. So vitaka is the ability to focus on something deliberately. This is a bit like our normal understanding of concentration, except it is slightly more technical. The second phase is vicara. Vicara is the ability to savor the object you have adverted to. So it’s a bit like you take a piece of chocolate and you put it in your mouth, and the initial reaction is “Oh, it’s chocolate!” That’s vitaka. Vicara is to then taste the chocolate, to enjoy the experience.

Excerpted from the book Three Minutes a Day: A Fourteen Week Course to Learn Meditation and Transform Your Life  © 2023 by Richard Dixey, PhD.  Printed with permission from New World Library —

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