Purity of heart is to will one thing.

 -Soren Kierkegaard

There is a Hindu story comparing the mind to the trunk of an elephant – restless, inquisitive, always straying. In our villages in India, elephants are sometimes taken in religious processions through the streets to the temple. The streets are crooked and narrow, lined on either side with fruit and vegetable stalls. Along comes the elephant with his restless trunk, and in one sinuous motion, he grabs a whole bunch of bananas. He opens his cavernous mouth, and tosses the bananas in – stalk and all. From the next stall he picks up a coconut and tosses it in after the bananas. No threats or promises can make this restless trunk settle down. But the wise elephant trainer will give that trunk a short bamboo stick to hold. Then the elephant will walk along proudly, holding the bamboo stick in front like a drum major with a baton. He doesn’t steal bananas and coconuts now, because his trunk has something to hold onto.

The mind works in the same way. We can keep it from straying into all kinds of situations if we just give it the mantram.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to explore the idea of one-pointed concentration and learn why many traditions consider this one of the key practices.  Then consider how the practice of the physical postures (or asana) can help you cultivate the ability to keep from “straying into all kinds of situations” and to cultivate one-pointed concentration (or dharana).