Study of scriptures: A systematic study of Vedānta in an appropriate manner, over a sufficient period of time, offers the framework to understand the self, the world, and reality. Studying these texts under the guidance of a teacher who lives and breathes the teachings of Vedānta can help us gain mental and intellectual clarity, by focusing on the ultimate truth.
Self-enquiry is a powerful means of focusing the mind. Vedānta urges the seeker to go beyond what the eyes, the ears, the senses, and even the mind can perceive and process, and to enquire into the nature of reality itself. Vedānta tells us to enquire: “who am I?”. This focused contemplation, or mananam, supported by shruti vākya–statements of the Upanishads to contemplate upon–detaches us from external and internal distractions to develop a deeper sense of self-awareness.
Vairāgya, or Detachment does not mean dropping all the objects of the world and turning away from our responsibilities and life itself. It implies having a healthy attitude towards the world, objects, work, and relationships. Vairāgya is the practice of letting go of attachment to things that might come our way, or go away from us and dropping attachment to the expectations of others, or the outcomes of our own actions. Letting go of attachments in this manner helps the mind be less dispersed and completely focused on the present.
The above point is more specifically stated in the Bhagavad Gītā. The practice of doing one’s duties, or any work, without like or dislike of the work itself, and without an attachment to the expected result, has been termed Karma Yoga. This way of doing actions, performing one’s work and duties can lead to a state of balance, and helps us to be focused when faced with distractions and difficult situations.
Bhakti, or Devotion: Vedānta underlines the importance of bhakti or devotion for mental clarity and focus. In fact, the Bhagavad Gītā has an entire chapter that focuses on the aspect of devotion, faith in a universal power, and surrender to a higher power who causes the natural order of the universe to flow effortlessly, beautifully. Devotion is the pillar supporting karma yoga, supporting self-enquiry, and all other spiritual practices. Devotion is a complete surrender to Ishvara. We offer all our actions to the divine, accept whatever comes our way as sent by the divine, and cultivate a burning desire to understand the divine for oneself. This bhāva, or attitude is a powerful way to cultivate a focused mind.
Vedānta reveals the ultimate reality of the self. It encourages the seeker to integrate its teachings and practices with one’s duties, work, and relationships. Vedanta helps us to achieve a focused mind in all aspects of life, by understanding the essential non-difference or unity of all things that seem to be differentiated.