What is “Spiritual Concentration?”
The main condition for each work is the ability to surrender one’s entire being or at least the maximum of one’s strength and energy to this particular work or creation. Life and nature supply us with a number of examples, starting with a cat that steals up to a bird, and ending with Balzac who composing his novels was forgetting to take his meals. The most valuable quality of a good tradesman is attention. An ordinary actor is usually very attentive towards his lines or his stage-business. But this is merely an outer attention. According to our theory, the main attention should be paid to the “life of the human spirit” or the “life of our inner feelings.” I cannot play Hamlet if I have never been aﬄicted by the loss of
anyone dear to me, if I do not know what a deep grief means and have not developed this feeling in my soul. The discovery and the development of such feelings is the main work of a creative actor. As any other work, it demands a great deal of concentration, which in that particular case is called “Spiritual Concentration.” The “Spiritual Concentration” is the ability to say to any of your
feelings: “Stop, and ﬁll my entire being!” This faculty can be developed and trained as much as one can train a human body, – and this training is the main problem of a creative school of acting. The spiritual concentration is the energy produced by the entire
human physiological and psychological apparatus, concentrated on one deﬁnite single problem. A hunting dog, pursuing game, spends all his energy in dashing rapidly
back and forth in order to discover his prey. The very moment the hound comes upon the scent he stops as if petriﬁed. He commands all his feelings and energy to stand still and concentrates on one single thought: to trap the animal and to leap upon it at the proper moment. At this moment the entire muscular and spiritual energy of the dog is concentrated on three senses: seeing, hearing and smelling. All that hinders
of these feelings by his muscles; the tail is dropped, the lifted paw hangs in the air as though broken, all the muscles of his body are relaxed and do not deprive him of even a single particle of his energy that is concentrated on nothing but these three senses. This is an example of ideal concentration of one’s primary feelings. As
far as it concerns us – humans – there are two things that are in the way of our complete abandonment and concentration. They are our muscles and our contemporary spiritual and physical life. We may counteract the opposition of our muscles by certain daily exercises, but the task of conquering the resistance of our modern life is much more complicated.