This month targeted focused attention.
The fast-paced nature of our society is conditioning our minds to pay attention at short intervals to ‘loud’ stimulation. Whether its a barrage of images, bright lights or big sound; marketing, movies and technology train our minds to flash from one point of focus to another. Not only does this condition a continually shorter attention span, it also influences the depth of our observation. We tend to glide over the surface of our experience unaware of the nuances and details of the moment.
Meditation can help us to counteract societal conditioning by supporting us to calm our minds and hold our focus on one object, penetrating deeper into the subtleties of experience. There are many practical benefits to this practice. First, we’re able to milk more from every moment of our lives. We can live more fully, being more aware of the sensations of laughter, the sun on our face, the warmth of a gentle embrace. Secondly, we are more aware of the shifting nature of life. Change is constant. Windows of opportunity are continually opening and closing. With a sharpened focus, we are more tuned to the natural rhythms of life and able to make conscious, current time choices to seize the day.
Although it might not be easy to master focused attention, the techniques for developing the skill are not difficult. Focus on the sensations of opening and closing your hand. Count your breaths. Listen to the sounds that surround you. Concentrate on the feeling of the breath as it touches the inner rims of your nostrils. Whenever your mind wanders away from your chosen focal point, gently bring it back. As you practice, the time between mind wander, notice and returned attention will become less and less. Eventually, there will be no separation, meaning 100% constant attention. Living in the moment.
I have included the October recording here so that you can join me in the simple practice of focused attention which starts at minute 25:15.
I hope to see you at the second last session of Train Your Brain for this year, Thursday, November 16. The more people practicing meditation, the stronger the benefit. Sign up below, bring a friend, let’s relax together.