In category I concentration, the mind encounters obstacles that prevent a moment-by moment- continuous observance of the meditation object, and as we are building concentration, we can use the practice of Charging Concentration.
The term charging concentration means that one aspect of concentration as a broad term can be thought to involve a condition of accumulated intention. As intention is the driving force for our actions, intention conditions the entry into any state of concentration or any mind state, for that matter. Each mind state we can access is a result of conditioning factors, one of them being the charge of all of our cumulative intentions. These can be thought of as discreet communication highways between certain neurons that are involved in the experience of a state of being. That connection will be strengthened by repeated use and reinforcement, especially positive reinforcement. This is why it is important to understand how these principles work as conditioning factors for attaining the jhanas.
We can think of intention as a cumulative asset for the meditator, and they accumulate ‘karma’ in a particular intention, and therefore when the practitioner holds that particular intention in mind, the cumulative ‘karma’ of that person will decide whether some state comes about, and how quickly and easily (a strong neural connection between different parts of the brain will have a fast, strong effect, while a weaker intention may only come about much later after much persistence).
Accumulation concentration works on intention, and our intention in the early stages is to seclude the mind from sensual attachment (i.e. we are turning inward, away from external objects) and “unskillful qualities”, which are the manifestations and fabrications resulting from the 5 hindrances. We aim to develop samatha and the seven factors of awakening. We learn specific techniques for counteracting the hindrances and we learn to detect the hindrances quickly and apply a counteracting antidote immediately and decisively.
Charging concentration is a concept of accumulating karma for later use. We can charge up our karma and expend it in the most skillful way possible generating the least further karma- i.e. in meditative bliss. This practice specifically brings in a past-future element and it makes repetition concrete and tangible in terms of the goal. When we think of our mind states as karma, we have energy to build positive skillful karma. We want to accumulate and possess things, and on a personal level, the karma that you accumulate during this life is yours, and any actions you take conditions further actions. By taking an intention to move away from a hindrance, that is congruent with our overall intention to awaken.
We can think of the power in our mind as the accumulation of karma. If we have lots of accumulated karma in an intention, it carries a lot of power. When we have a lot of karmic charge behind an intention – we carry out some action or skill and it is easy based on the high accumulated karma toward that type of intention. Concentration states and jhana are exactly the same way, we need to practice a specific intention over and over and over again until it is learned in the mind and available as a skill of mind. We simply repeat whatever intention or remedy and the repetition and amount of engagement with the object trains the mind in a specific communication highway i.e. a mind state. Accumulation practices reccomended for the SigmaTropic system include: