An important yet fleeting and also not easy to come by skill in today`s world, the ability to be focused. With a myriad of activities all around us, our minds have also been trapped in the commotion. Everywhere you look everyone will be busy doing one thing or the other, we rarely take a pause. There is so much going on all around us and all of it is in constant pursuit of our attention. Every screen we own lighting up with the constant notifications beeping and enticing us to give them a chunk of our time.
Since we were kids always having our parents shout at us at the dinner table to focus on eating, focus on our school work, well now no one shouts at you but you reprimand yourself daily on how you should stay focused on your work or a particular task. Over the years no matter how hard we have tried we are still riddled with the same disease. Often we blame our surrounding for being distracting and lacking the conduciveness that can allow us to focus on the task at hand.
The state of being focused is one where you identify a fixed point, a center of interest and you direct all your thoughts and energy to it. This skill is not one to be achieved in a short period, there is a need for continuous and habitual practice for us to be able to get to a point where we can easily focus. It is about turning off everything around you and you manage to light up only one spot you are interested in giving your time. We struggle with paying attention and focusing daily as we often get distracted while doing our tasks at work, in class. There are many ways we might try to remedy this but most times our concentration span will just elongate with a couple of minutes and fog moves in again.
To master focusing, we ought to realize that the focus should be first groomed inside. When one lacks inner focus it is impossible to manifest it on the outer. Achieving inner focus starts with understanding our minds. Since there is no manual for it one has to devote to learning how the mind works because only when we understand its mechanism can we be able to control it. When one loses focus it is not the mind that is jumping around but rather a constant shift in our awareness. Awareness allows us to be conscious of that which we have placed it on.
When you are walking in the dark holding a flashlight you can only clearly see the parts where you direct the flashlight to, so is our awareness. Imagine yourself in the dark but not being the one holding the flashlight, in that instance you can only see what the person holding the flashlight directs the light to. This is exactly what is happening in our minds every time we are distracted. Our minds just reacting to what the light has been flashed at, that which has gotten the attention of our awareness. To achieve inner focus we have to be in control of our awareness, driving it to any part of our mind we want to dwell our attention on.
Inner focus is cultivated from the ability to exist in the present, being able to observe without judgment. Give yourself time each day to clear your mind of thoughts of the future, the past, and reasoning, become an observer. Taking in your surroundings, listening to the sound of birds, cars passing by, and shutting the door to anything else going on around you. Take a pause from trying to figure everything out, step back, and allow integration to work. Be aware of and embrace your thoughts and feelings in such moments.
Give a voice to your unconscious as you allow your mind to stretch. Incorporate meditation into your daily schedule, it doesn’t only have to be for long periods but always finds time to get in touch with your inner self. The greatest enemy of focus is not a distraction but rather over stimulation. With our technology strides, the world is becoming smarter by the day, our gadgets become distracting because they at all times give our brains stimuli. The mind craves distractions and it rewards us for the stimuli with a bit of dopamine which is why we are always in a constant state of being distracted. When we dial it down it is easier to focus. When meditating you are detached from the exterior and connected to the inner and this lack of external stimuli allows our awareness to be dwelling on the important things.
To achieve inner focus there is a need to embrace boredom, these are moments with fewer stimuli for our minds. Detach yourself from social media, the internet and allow your mind to be aware of those areas you often neglect. Most inspiration strikes when we are bored, with nothing pressing on our minds and this shows just how a constant disconnect can aid in increasing our attention span, opening our minds to more ideas and a better focus. Get rid of anxiety and shift your focus from negative thoughts. As much as multitasking is good our minds work best when directed on a single thing. Choose what you want to focus on and push every other thought aside. The more you practice this daily the closer you will be getting in your journey of achieving inner focus.
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