“I take concentration power to be one of the three core skills that constitutes mindful awareness!”
We’re coming down to our last couple of posts in the 101 Proven Tips for Powerful Meditation series.
Even though we are nearing the end of the series, we have some very important information to cover… we must stay focused!
Focus (or concentration, or Specificity of our senses) is actually our topic for this post.
The world can often be rather vague… advertising pulls our attention in multiple different directions simultaneously… and the way we’ve been trained by our schools usually doesn’t give us any more ability to truly focus…
Moving through life can often seem uncertain and a bit blurry…
If, however, you have been reading and playing with these tips, then you already know that it is very useful to let go of distraction… and now that you have let go of your distractions, you have already started to build your power of focus.
Learning to sharpen your focus can be one of the most valuable choices you make in your life… the skill of focus is a crucial benefit to any activity!
But What Do We Mean By Focus?
Meditation Master Key 6: Get on the path of ever deepening focus…
It is very valuable to have something to hold your awareness on (sometimes referred to as ‘focusing’)… where you choose to hold your awareness is called the object of meditation (but it is also sometimes called the ‘focus’ of meditation). When you practice meditating and get good at holding more and more of your attention on a single object for greater and greater periods of time, it is referred to as concentration or mindfulness (but it is often sometimes said that you have developed ‘focus’).
- Focus (v): the activity of holding your awareness on something
- Focus (n): the object (physical or otherwise) your awareness is directed to during a meditation (where you hold your awareness)
- Focus (n): the developed ability of directing more and more of your awareness over time
Keep in mind these are simplified, but functional definitions.
Clearly, the term ‘focus’ can be used in several different ways.
Keep this in mind when you study and practice these tips!
Meditation Tip 74 - Pick a focus, and stick with it: This is particularly important in the beginning. It can sometimes be challenging to stick with a single focus. Our society seems to be built around the ever shortening span of attention. When you practice meditation, it is critical that you give a single focus/object enough time to really begin to develop the momentum of concentrated awareness. Once you start to develop this… you can branch out and play with variety as much as you like as long as you are satisfied with the continued building of momentum…
Meditation Tip 75 – Narrow your focus down to a single, specific aspect: Find the most specific element you can focus on… and hold it there. When it drifts, bring it back. This is the ultimate way to eliminate distractions. This is an incredibly easy way to focus in scope, but it can be rather challenging in practice. If it is an image, bring it down to a single aspect of the image. If it is a sensation, focus on one small spot or area of the sensation. Play with sharp focus. Once your focus develops here, it will be much easier to move on to other meditations.
Meditation Tip 76 - Once your focus develops, branch out: Now that you’ve started to develop the momentum of your focus, it is useful to learn to become focused on anything you want at anytime. Practice building your focus everywhere during your day-to-day life. While going about chores, paying bills, interacting with a loved one, etc. start to bring a little bit more focus into a specific aspect of the activity.
Meditation Tip 77 - Returning your awareness is the point of the exercise: If you choose to meditate for any length of time, then at some point your awareness will drift. If your focus never drifts, then you aren’t challenging yourself. The point is, when your awareness drifts, bring it back to your focus (whatever your object of meditation is). Most people live in a world of constantly drifting focus, and most of the time, they aren’t even aware of it. When you are aware of your focus drifting, you can direct it back to the object of meditation… and this is the very skill you are developing.
Meditation Tip 78 - Work with global focus: Broaden your focus. Pay attention to all the sensations in the body at once. Notice all the internal images that arise. Pay attention to all sounds simultaneously. This can seem rather challenging at first, but with a little bit of practice, it actually becomes one of the easiest meditations to do in ‘the background’ as you move about your life. This is highly practical as well… noticing everything going on in your body at once while you move about life will give you a lot of information about subtle likes and dislikes, as well as the most conscious awareness possible of what is going on in the subconscious.
Meditation Tip 79 - Work with specific focus: Once you have played with Tip 75, this will be easy. Rather than a single point, you can spread your awareness to a single area. Spend some time getting good at focusing on a single object. It could be the sensations of the breath in your stomach, chest, or nose… or it could be any other specific sensation in the body. It could be the sight of a candle. It could be an internal image of some holy symbol or yantra. In tip 75, you would only use one aspect of the image… here you can use the entire image. It could be a specific external sound (or brainwave entrainment track)… or it could be some internal sound. Whatever you decide you want your focus to be… the point of the exercise is to bring your awareness back to that focus again and again. This is fun and powerful, as this is a good way to quickly build laser like focus.
Meditation Tip 80 - Develop flowing focus – Follow the energy: This can be an endlessly fascinating exercise! This one is best done with body sensations as your focus. Direct your awareness to any sensations in your body, and just notice where they go. Watch how they move and flow. Notice how they grow larger or smaller. Notice how they feel, and if/when the feeling changes. Eventually, you might find ways to do this with images and sounds as well, but I encourage you to get good at it with body sensations first… once you really ‘get a feel’ for this exercise, it will be fun and easy to branch out and play with it elsewhere as well.
Meditation Tip 81 - Develop flowing focus – Move the awareness: This one is also easiest with body sensations. Scanning your awareness back and forth across a region of your body, or across your entire body is one example of this. You can scan bottom to top, top to bottom, right to left, left to right, back to front, front to back, or play with any combinations of these. Rather than following your sensations, you move your awareness in a fixed manner regardless of what the sensations do. Notice the sensations, and then continue your scanning or fixed movement of awareness. The microcosmic orbit is a classic meditation and could be considered an example of this, but it needs more explanation than I can go into here.
Meditation Tip 82 - Practice noticing wherever your focus happens to be during life: This is the ultimate day-to-day tip. While you are doing whatever it is you are doing, just notice where your awareness tends to go. Let go of any desire to move it specifically for this exercise… just notice where it seems to be naturally drawn. What do you pay attention to most of the time? What really draws you in? The results of this awareness can be powerful indeed! You might discover your largest distraction, your biggest roadblock, the person you most need to forgive… etc.
Meditation Tip 83 - Step out, and then step deeper into to the focus: This is arguably the most powerful tip in the entire series! When you step out of a state, and then move back into it… it allows you to go a little deeper into the state. Once you have developed a little bit of focus, play with this. Step into focus… let it go… then step back into focus a little bit deeper… and notice how everytime you do this… you can go a little bit deeper. I practiced this just now. I’m looking at a shelf of DVDs. On the edge of one DVD cover is the letter ‘W’. I directed my focus into it, then relaxed and closed my eyes, then directed even more of my focus into it, then relaxed and closed my eyes… after doing this about 5 times, it was as if I was being ‘pulled’ toward the ‘W’… My body didn’t actually move, but the sensations in my body seemed drawn to the ‘W’… I don’t know if you can yet imagine all the powerful ways you could use this tip… but when you do, you are going to have a much deeper level of understanding of your mind and much greater level of power in your life!
Meditation Tip 84 - Practice focus anywhere, anytime: Anytime is a good time to build your skill of focus now. For example, as I’m writing this, my wife is asleep next to me. I’m a bit tired myself, and I could easily lay down next to her and fall asleep… I knotice that, and then I bring my awareness back to the post I’m writing. Also right now, you’re reading this post, and there are tons of other things that you could be paying attention to… but you can choose to bring your awareness back to this post again and again… and when you do that you will notice that after some practice, your attention tends to stay where you put it for longer and longer periods of time. You will notice as you go about your life… any moment is an excellent time to further develop your ability with focus.
Meditation Tip 85 - Keep your focus gentle: It is very important to note that a lot of work with focus can lead to sensations of tension or strain. It is best to avoid this as much as possible. So do your best to keep your focus soft and gentle (even if it is a specific focus). Relax and release any sensations of physical tension that might come up. Also accept, allow, and release any attachments that seem to arise in the mind. And continue to gently pour your awareness into the focus of your meditation.
Meditation Tip 86 - Work towards Samadhi: Depending on what tradition you practice, Samadhi could mean “any state of high concentration”… or it could mean “absolute absorption in the object of meditation”. I tend to use it both ways. You will first start to notice your Samadhi arising when it becomes easier to hold more of your awareness on the focus for longer periods of time. Eventually, you will notice that your awareness no longer drifts at all, it flows in a continuous stream of focus into whatever object you direct it toward. The goal of these exercises is a highly concentrated mind, whether you go for just a little bit more concentration, or you decide to go for complete concentration. With a little playful practice, you might surprise yourself with how quickly you achieve some level of Samadhi… it will usually take more practice to develop complete Samadhi… but I encourage you to remain open to rapid results… after all, you are a Master of Meditation!
But Why Focus?
Anything in life is improved with an increased ability to focus:
- Emotional Awareness
- Spiritual Growth
- etc., etc., etc.
It’s well worth a little bit of your time to get better at everything… isn’t it
P.S. If you would like to have the training course that was created based on these posts… simply put your name and e-mail address in the blue box in the upper right corner of this page, or visit GuidedMeditation.Warrior-Mystic.com