“Our unresolved feelings and emotions in our body are like a spiky outer layer that repels our awareness, and prevents our mind form using the most obvious ‘landing place’ for attention to stabilize in the present. In this way we become alienated from our body and ‘locked out’ of stability in the present”
Dear Integral Meditators,
Why is it really so difficult for us to stabilize our focus? There are a number of reasons, but the article below outlines one and a method that we can use to make focusing much easier, quite quickly, with all the benefits that follow from it!
If you enjoy the article, then this weeks meditation classes on Tuesday & Wednesday will be focusing on it. You are welcome to join us, either live or online.
In the spirit of warmth,
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Article: Making it easier to focus deeply
Sensory meditation, the gateway to stability
In general, the stable-est and easiest way to build basic mindful focus is to use your body and senses. Whenever your attention rests on your senses, by default your mind becomes less busy. This is because your body, breathing and senses are non-conceptual objects. They are always in the present moment and so, to the degree that we can get our attention on them we can become more naturally focused in the present.
The challenge with the body and senses as an object of meditation
So, in theory, simply focusing on your body and breathing should make it easy to become more present-focused quite rapidly. However, one reason that we find it quite (even very) difficult to focus on our body and breathing is because our body is where we store all our feelings and emotions on an energy level. If we have a lot of stress, conflicting emotion and tension in our body, then to become more present to our body means to become aware of all of these things. So, often unconsciously people avoid awareness of their body in order to avoid awareness of uncomfortable feelings. Our unresolved feelings and emotions in our body are like a spiky outer layer that repels our awareness, and prevents our mind form using the most obvious ‘landing place’ for attention to stabilize in the present. In this way we become alienated from our body and ‘locked out’ of stability in the present.
Committing to acceptance, warmth, friendliness
When we come to mindful awareness of the body then, we need to be ready to work with the feelings that we find in the body. The simplest way to do this is simply to commit to extending warmth and support to whatever feelings that we find in the body, even if they are uncomfortable. This way, rather than running away into our thoughts, we can relax into the body, even if some of the things that we find there are not always pleasant.
At home in the body, easy to focus
By extending warmth to the body and feelings in the body we can make it like a home; a place that we came back to and find rest and relief from the challenges of our daily life. Not only this, but we find that our mind becomes clearer and easier to focus, because it has a point of stability in the present. Overall, we start to feel stronger and clearer in the face of life and the things that it throws at us.
Practical: Witnessing the body, like the sun
In meditation turn your attention specifically to the body in, let your attention rest upon and within your body like the sun shining its light. In this context the sun has two qualities:
- It shines its light impartially and unconditionally
- The light is warm
You can imagine this as if you were sitting outside with the sun shining down from outside you in the sky. Or, if you like you can imagine it sitting in your chest, shining light from within.
As you encounter your body with your sun like awareness, feel it melting away stress and uncomfortable feelings with its warmth. As you are doing this, some of the feelings will take a while, so don’t be in a hurry. Try and make your body a place that, even there are difficult feelings within it, you can come home to and be present in, finding stability, focus and warmth there.
Related reading: Witnessing like the sun
Your body of presence – Sitting sumo style
© Toby Ouvry 2023, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com
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