Increasing focus

Increasing focus

by Headspace » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:55 pm

Question

Can meditation practice help with improving focus, and how does the 'soft gaze' exercise at the beginning of some of the sessions help with this?


Andy's Answer

There is no question that meditation, with practice and time, can result in a more focused mind. That has been the experience of meditators for thousands of years and has also been the findings of western science in the last 30 or 40 years. It's important to say though, this is an evolving process, a new skill you're learning, and so it's vital to build some solid foundations first - which is exactly what you are doing in Take10, Take15 and Take20.

Momentary laser-like focus can undoubtedly be achieved through effort, but it is difficult to sustain. It's also a very inefficient way of working. This is why I begin the Headspace Journey by showing you how to discover effortless focus. This type of focus is essentially limitless and can be applied to anything. It is also very efficient.

But let's rewind to the start of the exercise. When I suggest you begin with a soft gaze, this is the equivalent of warming up for sports. If you turn up at an athletics track and just sprint, you'll probably pull a muscle. In the same way, if you sit and immediately try and focus very intently, it will probably hurt. So we begin soft and wide and slowly sharpen and narrow the focus as the exercise continues. So there is no real contradiction there at all.

As you continue, it will become progressively easier to come back to the point of focus. This is, in part, due to the fact that you will be less inclined to be distracted by thoughts and feelings which arise in the mind, or sensations which arise in the body. However, it is also due to the increasing familiarity and confidence with the feeling of stillness, of being present, focused and engaged. It will happen, it simply requires a little time.

Warm wishes, Andy
 
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