Recently I was asked, how do I focus the mind and energy ? Well, that got me to thinking of just how do we do focus the mind, and more importantly to my mind, the things that tend to get in the way of that focus. This page is the result of that mental rummaging about in the brain, looking to put down on paper, what is largely, for any energy practitioner of any long duration, an unconscious act.
"Energy flows where attention goes." which is a very old saying, but true none the less, attention and what we pay attention to, equals focus.
Have you ever noticed, you can feel miserable, like have a raging headache for example, but if you manage to get yourself into something that you can get totally absorbed into, suddenly, you don't notice the pain ? This is the power of focus, since we are no longer focusing on the pain, we tend to feel it less, it has not gone away, but it's no longer the first thing in line for our attention.
Any novice to energy work or mediation, runs into the problem of the mind, body argument. You try to drop down into a lotus position for mediation for example, and one of the first things you find out, is your feet tend to fall asleep ! :) Distracting isn't it ? It takes quite a while, and lots of practice to learn to ignore such distractions.
Most healers learn to channel healing energy, to the exclusion of all else, hard focus as it's called, mainly by the act of focusing entirely, oddly enough, on someone else.
Channeling energy, for healing or ritual, is not, buy and large a consciously maintained act however. Any attempt to force focus on the act itself, tends to disrupt it. Now, the reason for this, is we are focusing on the wrong thing. The focus needs to be on the action you intend, not, despite what many believe, on how you do it.
Hard focus, the focus where we exclude everything else, save the one tiny point, which is what gets you started, has to become a soft focus, which is where we expand our focus to include everything, while pinpointing no one thing in particular.
We need to do this, so can we be ready for any action we need to take. That point of mind were we are totally focused, but only on what we intend to do. The flexibility is needed, as we do not know at any point, exactly what we will encounter, or be called on to do, we become "aware" of everything, yet of nothing, as much of a paradox as that sounds like. But it's exactly the state that we want.
If we focus on one object, the "how to" of the act we intend, and ONLY that, in other words,hard focus, we are libel to miss even obvious things that we need to deal with in the course of what we plan to do. This is called, Mushin, in martial arts, the state of no mind, the state of pure potential, without seeking any one action, and we are therefore, ready for anything that comes to hand. So we need to relax a little here, and open our awareness a bit.
A few things to know:
And by that I don't mean just the body, but everything. Just as we do when approaching meditation, let the body and mind flow easy, and gently.
See my pages on mediation for more details on how to do that. Ever notice how if you have gone to sleep on a problem and find you wake up with the answer ? This is the ultimate in relaxation, as you are asleep when it happens. Trying to force the mind into finding an answer to any problem, is an exercise in futility.
Know your objective:
A simple as that sounds, we are often defeated by not having a clear cut goal or intention in mind. The brain is a wonderful tool, it will do most anything we ask of it, but only if we make those "directions" clear. Visualization helps a lot, have in mind exactly what you really want to achieve, in detail, and the mind will comply, by giving you directions on how to get there, if you give it clear intentions.
In the martial arts for example: Breaking a board or stack of bricks, which is often used as a demonstration of power, you do not think of the surface of the board and how hard or fast you have to hit it to break it, you think of your hand, traveling beyond it, and the board in pieces. The objective is, not the board or the "how to" of force, but what you intend, which is for them to be broken. That is your goal and should be your focus. And if you have ever watched this in action, in marital arts exhibitions, you know it works quite well.
Don't worry so much about the how:
Now, I know a few are going to go huh ? But my point is, we could not even do such a simple act as walk, if we tried to think about how we do it, as we do it.
Consider how many muscles, and the act of balancing it takes to walk ? Could we duplicate the idea of walk across the room, by an act of will ? In point of fact, we can, and it's just how we do it normally. Think about that for a second, we do not consider what muscles it takes etc., we just get up ... have the will to walk, and we do.
In fact, if we stop and think about it, we tend to focus on the mechanics of walking, which makes us clumsy and awkward, as anyone who has had to re-learn how to walk after an injury knows very well.
When we are infants, and first learning how to walk, our will is exactly how we did it, and it was our will alone, as we had no clue at all of the muscles or "how to" or the balancing involved, at the time, we were totally and utterly clueless on such matters ... yet, we learned to walk. A baby's intent is to walk, period and they leave it up to the body to figure out the means, to give them their sought after objective, to walk. As their objective is the only thing in their mind.
This is the same letting go of the how, and focusing on the what, that we, as adults need to do for things that we currently do not "know" how to do. These are the directions we give the mind, we need to tell it what we want, and let it figure out the how, believe me, it can do this very well.
Exercise the mind:
We spend countless hours working out the body, but does it ever occur to us that "use it or lose it" applies to the mind ? Our mind needs as much stimulation and action as any body part, in order to stay healthy and functional. A fave saying of mine, "An idle mind is the devils playground, and the devils name is Alzheimer's" We have to use the mind to have it in good working order, challenge it, push it from time to time, give it new things to do.
If one has a problem of focus for say doing healing or ritual, this is often a sign that the person has not exercised the mind, and the will, often enough. If everything we do, is well known, where then is the challenge ? Interest the mind, get all the neurons up there firing off, not just the same ones all the time. Try new things, learn new stuff about things you already know, in short ... think ... use the brain cells to their utmost !
Lose the emotional state:
This does not mean, do not care about things, it means, stop letting your emotions, get in the way of what you intend. We can "want" something so much, that the emotionally charged feeling of need, is the very thing that prevents us from getting it.
Paradox again, in order to fulfill our needs, we have to let go caring about the outcome so much. Back to our baby example for a second. Does a baby, learning to walk, get upset because they can't do it right away ? Not really, frustrated maybe, but by and large they are divorced from emotional baggage on the matter, they simply get up and try it again, and again, and again, until they get it right.
How often we fail, is meaningless. We, as adults tend to focus on our failures. We say to ourselves, "I have tried and tried and I can't do it." Wrong attitude, back to our baby example. Babies are the most successful creatures on the planet, for the simple fact, it does not matter to them that they have tried to do a thing a million times and failed, the one time they get it right, is the only one that matters to them.
All the failures to do, no longer exist the second they get it right, and then they proceed to do it that way, from then on. We, as adults, have to remember how to do this, and stop focusing on the wrong thing, the objective is the thing, not how often we attempt it.
Focus the will on the right thing:
How we put the command to the mind, is just about the most important thing we can do and very often, we do it wrong. Too often we say, "I don't want to do this wrong", rather than say to ourselves "I can do this." Don't think so ?
Consider, if we are not one of the economically blessed for example, our mind could very well say, "I do not want to be poor", when in fact, what our focus should be on is "I want to be well off" and then proceed to act on that thought, not the self fulfilling prophecy of poverty.
As we think, therefore we are. Realize, the subconscious mind does not really understand the word "Not", so what your really presenting to it is " I do want to be poor" and given that as the focus, you will tend to take the actions that keep that state of poverty in place, as it would be inconsistent not to, given the "directions" we have given the mind. The mind is a powerful thing. What we believe, is more important than fact.
Believe in yourself:
As I have said many times before, we cannot achieve a thing, unless we believe we can. I cannot say it enough, as the largest hole we fall into of failure, is pit we dig with our own hands, by saying ... I can't ... It does not matter what excuse we use, either our inexperience, our failure rate, our emotional baggage and fears, our lack of practice, the reasons are endless, and all of them, are meaningless.
The one thing that will overcome them all is the simple fact of believing that you "can" do it. Accept no other answer, flat out refuse any other answer, except the outcome you want. Believe that, "yes I can" is the only sentence in your lexicon and you will succeed at whatever you intend to do. It might take time, it might take work, but anything worth having takes that. Remember the lessons you knew very well as a child, that failure is meaningless, and just DO IT.