Focus: The Only Thing Worth Mastering

Image credit:  Michael Dales via flickr ,  CC license , no modification.

Image credit: Michael Dales via flickr, CC license, no modification.


There are a great many things, constantly vying for our attention. The world is noisier than ever before. Not only must we get through the arduous task of filtering through the myriad shiny things to pay attention to, but we must be mindful of what these selections bring into our lives.

What you focus on becomes your reality. I’m not sure how, but it feels like a Law of Physics. That like attracts like. What we spend our time fixated on, is what we invite more of into our lives. It applies across the board. In our personal lives, at work and all things.

In meditation, you start just by observing the breath. It seems simple because it is. Painfully so. My personal experience with this first step has been one of frustration.

In the Vipassana 10 day course, you spend the first 4 days just on this step. Just observing breath through your nose. That’s it. Nothing else. It’s a thorough intro no doubt, but mostly about retraining yourself. Learning to quieten the mind. Step 2, beginning on day 5, is just applying this same technique to the rest of the body. Simple. Painfully simple. What happens though, is that you learn to recalibrate your focus. Turning it inward does some pretty crazy things for your perception. You have nowhere to go. The mind squirms: put on the spot. Eventually, it can only release control. It has nothing else but it’s own reflection. Nowhere to hide.

Worth refining then, since it’s the guiding mechanism. The one tool by which we action and activate our desires. The lens by which we perceive the world. If I treated that lens with the care I give my camera lens, I’d have it all figured out. Instead, my idle focus keeps that lens smudged. But it's in this contrast that we find meaning: in the space between notes. You can’t be sharp all the time.

Along with time, attention may be one of the most precious of all recourses. Time is continuous and we can’t do much about that. But attention comes with choice, the results of which may have the greatest and most direct implications in our lives. Better get clear on what we’re allowing through.

90 Day Content Challenge: Day 22