by Reb Aharon Rubin, from Eye to the Infinite, shared with permission.
One of the ways of redirecting and focusing the mind is through forming a periphery to one’s focus. The conscious mind comprises two areas: the focus and the periphery – a space or ‘margin’ that serves to keep the mind centred. Constricting attention to the words of prayer whilst thinking of G-d automatically causes a meditative state, because the words form a periphery to one’s awareness, which is focused on G-d. Moving from one word to the next, your mind becomes increasingly engaged with the idea of standing before G-d’s Presence.
The words of prayer form a spiral of peripheral thoughts that expedite the intensity of Divine-awareness and deveikuth (see fig. 8). This single-minded awareness of G-d binds the entire prayer, helping to avoid the straying of concentration due to over-familiarity with the liturgy. Another tool, based on the same principle, is to sway backwards and forwards during prayer, referred to (in Yiddish) as shockeling. This very physical expression of devotion also serves to direct the mind, acting as a periphery to one’s area of focus.
As mentioned earlier, prayer needs to be physically expressed. The combination of intent, emotion, verbalisation of the holy words and the yearning to attach to G-d, lifts one’s awareness to the neshomoh-soul level. It is most important therefore to pray with emotion and feeling, specifically יראה – awareness and fear of G-d, and הודאה – thankfulness (the emotions mentioned above).
Awareness of G-d brings about a sweet and captivating awe craved by the soul, which, when combined with gratefulness and humility, opens the door to Heaven and draws the soul to G-d in loving embrace. This is the recipe for deveikuth, the path to the highest worlds.
 Conversely, using the focus on G-d to occupy one’s conscious mind, one can enter the inner light of the words and letters.
 Some find a hint to this in Psalm 35, "All my limbs shall declare, 'O L-rd, who is like You?'
 See Psalm 100:4, “באו לפניו בתודה – Come before Him in thanksgiving”.