Concentration, meditation and contemplation entirely depend on our inner cry. When a child is hungry, really hungry, he cries. He may be on the first floor and his mother may be on the third floor, but when the mother hears his cry she comes down immediately to feed the child.
Let us take concentration as an inner hunger. If we are really hungry, our Father Supreme will come running no matter where we are crying. If we have intensity and sincerity in our cry, then I tell you that we can learn concentration in a few days' time. Otherwise, it can take years and years. And then, when will we have time to start our meditation and contemplation, which are more advanced subjects? There are people who have spent forty years learning how to concentrate. Now, they have not developed an inner cry. It is like a good student and a bad student. A bad student will fail and fail and fail, whereas a good student will every year go on to a higher class.
Again, God-realisation is not like drinking water; it is not like instant coffee, something that you will get immediately. No, it takes time. If somebody says he will be able to make you realise God overnight, then do not take him seriously. You have been to school, to college and university. It has taken you twenty years to get your Master's degree, which is based on outer knowledge. And God-realisation, which is infinitely more important and more significant, naturally will take many more years. In no way do I want to discourage you. Only I wish to say that if the hunger is sincere and if you are desperately in need of God, then if you need the power of concentration, I assure you God will give you the power of concentration.
There is also something practical you can do to strengthen you concentration-power. Please feel that inside your mind there is a room and naturally there is also a door. Stand either inside the room or outside the room, just in front of the door, and wait there to see who is coming. As soon as you see that some people are coming — 'people' here means thoughts — you just keep the door closed. In the beginning, in order to become strong, you do not allow anybody in. Otherwise, while you are allowing friends to come in, your enemies may also come in and then you will be totally lost. But there comes a time when you become inwardly strong and you are in a position only to let your friends come in. At that time you will allow your friends in and let the enemies remain outside.
Good thoughts are your friends. Thoughts about loving God, about self-sacrificing, are good thoughts. So when these good thoughts want to enter into your room, you must leave the door open. But as soon as you see bad thoughts like fear, doubt, jealousy, frustration, depression and so on, you will keep the door closed.
If we practise concentration and meditation regularly, we are bound to succeed. If we are really sincere, we will reach the goal. But our difficulty is that we are sincere for one day or for one week; then we feel that it is not meant for us. We want to realise God overnight. If we can't get our God-realisation overnight, then we think, "All right, let us pray for one week, one month, one year." After one year, if we don't realise God we will give up. We feel that the spiritual life is not meant for us; it is only for others.
It is like turning on the stove. If you turn the handle just a little and then stop, there will be no flame. You have to turn the handle to a certain spot and only then will the flame appear. But you move the handle only a little and then think, "There will be no flame, so the best thing is to bring the handle back or to leave it where it is." This is what happens. People go one step and feel that God is not there. But God is standing at the end of two steps. If we don't go to the extreme limit where He is, how are we going to see Him?