Day #16: Being Focussed

Today I practiced the trilogy of strategies I believe are key to being focused, open-minded, and downright ace! The three skills are my configuration of key skills and techniques we build through mindfulness practice. They are: 

1. Concentration - Being Focussed.

2. Contemplation - Being Open.

3. Cultivation - Being Ace!


I've referred to them in previous posts and incorporate them in my speaking and training sessions with clients. However, I haven't really spelled them out in the (En)Lighten Up! experiment yet. So, I thought it might be useful for the next 3 days to share an overview of each of them.

If you think the trilogy is helpful, awesome. Stay tuned to the following posts. FYI - They form part of my forthcoming book on mindful living and the book will go into more detail on the science and philosophy so i'll keep this light for now ;) 

1. Concentration - Being Focussed

Being focused is reasonably simple, but not always easy for us to sustain. There are so many sources of distraction these days. Also, we experience an overwhelming amount of information and consume hours upon hours of media. Taking these together, we use up a lot of our precious energy. Concentration practices help us take on these challenges. 

Practice involves:

1) choosing where we want to focus our attention,

2) noticing when our attention becomes distracted, and

3) bringing our attention back to what we chose to focus on.

So it's simple, but not easy. With concentration practice under our belt (and i'm talking lots of practice to build our capacity and skillfulness) we get better and better and being focusing our attention and keeping it where we want it. We reap the benefits of this when we focus on actions that we value, and which help us to be effective in terms of our performance, health, wellbeing, and relationships.

Mindfulness practices that involve directing attention to an object like the breath are examples of concentration practices. We focus on the breath. Then, when our attention wanders off to something unrelated to the breath, we notice it and bring it back.

For example, we notice our breath one moment. Then, the next moment we notice we are thinking about our 'to-do' list. We bring our attention back to our breath, and then a few moments later we have a memory of the past. We notice that and bring our attention back to the breath, then our self-talking narration of the present kicks into gear. We bring ourselves back when we realise we're up in our head, and then we drift off into speculations of an imagined future scenario. And so on, and so on... Mind wanders, we bring it back - no matter how many 000's of times, the concentration practice is not just in the focusing, but in the re-focusing. 

Stay tuned for Friday and Saturday where i'll outline 

2. Contemplation - Being Open

3. Cultivation - Being Ace!