Dharana is a Sanskrit word. In meditation training, it means concentration, attention, or right focus. The concept and original teaching about it comes from the great rishi, Patanjali and his Yoga Sutras. Buddha Shakyamuni then took this teaching, used it, and achieved enlightenment. Both of these great beings, then, used this aspect of meditation training to accomplish that which each person can: a livingness from profound awareness.
Dharana speaks of bringing oneself into a focused state of awareness that concentrated in the Now, as an attention that is not on any particular thing. This, then leaves the mind to experience its innate nature. The nature of mind is Luminous Dynamic Awareness itself. Step 2 of The Practice of Living Awareness gets right to the point of meditation: be here now as the focused state of wide open Awareness.
It is in the combination of Step 1: Smile and settle with Step 2: Tip of the Nose, that the fullness of a meditation practice and path will be possible and, with your diligence, be easily cultivated. Smile and settle is the foundation for Shamatha (abiding in the tranquility of inner contentment and peace). Tip of the Nose is the foundation for Vipassana (the ability to focus and bring into attention the very nature of Awareness itself).
Downloadable podcast: 2b. Dharana, concentration, focus