(Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness)

Concentrate. When you can focus the mind on japa, using a mantra and mala beads to help silence the mind. Last month you learned to control your senses by turning inward to become more aware of your mind. Dharana is about maintaining focus and concentration, when your mind wants to wander.
Think of a dog–if you train your dog to listen and obey, when you take him off the collar he will heel. But if you let your dog run freely without obedience, then when you take him off the collar, he will run into the street or chase a bird, and it will take a lot of effort to get him back on the leash. The mind is the same–teach it slowly to be focused so when you sit for meditation it knows it must be obedient and not wander.
Short practice: Sit for 10 minutes twice a day and observe your thoughts and emotions; connect to those thoughts then journal about your observations.