So much of our daily lives is taken up with focusing on things that are external to ourselves – social media, meetings, conversations about recent events, driving our car or trying to catch a train or bus to work. Our thoughts are often racing as we plan, evaluate and critique. As a consequence, we spend so little time focusing inward and getting in touch with our inner reality.
While our focus is external most of the time, it means that we are susceptible to being pushed and pulled by external forces – whether they relate to the internet, invasive advertising, loud conversations or the fast pace of life.
Focusing inward to see clearly
Diana Winston reminds us in her meditation podcast, Focusing inward and seeing clearly, that mindfulness meditation can bring insight, clarity, creative solutions to problems and a new level of awareness of both our inner and outer reality.
The starting point is to become grounded by placing our feet firmly on the floor and closing our eyes (or looking downward). This initial step is designed to move our attention from external things to our internal world.
We need a focus to maintain our attention to our inner world. This focus could be our breathing or sounds. However, the latter could distract us from our inner work because we are always interpreting sounds, comparing them or recalling memories that are stimulated by particular sounds.
A couple of deep breaths at the outset of our meditation can help us to let go and get focused on our breathing and where in our body it is most noticeable. A progressive body scan can also help to fix our attention within. We can feel the sensation of our feet touching the floor, the firmness of our back against our chair and the warmth/tingling in our hands as we progress our meditation.
We might also notice areas of tension in our body and progressively release this tension as we bring our attention to the relevant parts of our body. This, in turn, can make us open to our feelings which we have been holding back – we could be anxious, frustrated, angry or feeling hurt. By naming our feelings, we can gain control over them and sustain our attention on our inner focus.
Once we have stabilised our attention on our inner world, we can address several questions designed to deepen our personal insight and increase our clarity, for example:
- What do I need to let go of?
- Where am I heading?
- What am I doing this for?
- What am I doing with the surplus in my life?
As we grow in mindfulness through insight meditation, we can unearth new understandings and different perspectives on issues as well as creative solutions, we can really open up the spaciousness of our minds and achieve more of what we are capable of.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of realworkhard on Pixabay
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