In order to function in life, our mind must be able to focus. Through school we have been trained to focus our minds because without the ability to concentrate they will not be able to cope with life.
Concentration allows us to narrow and focus our attention on a specific object or task. Without the ability to concentrate, we could not perform even the simplest of everyday functions. We might even become overwhelmed by too much information.
Walking and crossing the street without the ability to focus can be disastrous. Focus allows us to focus our attention on defining and achieving our goals, and is therefore an important function of utilitarian thinking – the goal-oriented, problem-solving aspect of our mind.
This narrowing of attention is essential for survival, but the utilitarian spirit is not the whole picture. When we narrow our focus of attention to become unaware of so many other parts of our experience in the present moment. With a narrow focus of attention, we only use a small part of the mind’s potential.
Concentration, the narrowing of the mind, is therefore a means of surviving and achieving goals, but not of a relaxed quality of life.
A walk on the beach, for example, becomes much more pleasant when we are open to smelling the sea air, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the sounds of seagulls and feeling the soft sand beneath our feet. A concentrated mind with a narrow focus of attention would miss most of the joy.
Expansive experiences of open awareness bring welcome relief from the narrow focus of utilitarian thinking. Being stuck in utilitarian thinking can lead to a flat, two-dimensional, overly logical, and functional existence. Even simple expansive experiences like walking on the beach with open awareness are healing and restorative; They relax the mind and nourish the heart and soul.
Overuse of utilitarian thinking leads to a chronic narrowing of consciousness that impairs enjoyment of life, decreases productivity, and limits our ability to relieve stress and heal. When we remain in narrow-minded attention, constant thinking plays an exaggerated and dominant role in our mind. We miss the rich and rewarding experiences filled with sensual and emotional textures.
The narrow focus of compassion and empathy; distance ourselves from others and from feelings in nature. We get stuck in our heads. This is one of the reasons why so many people in our world today, despite advances in transportation and communications, feel isolated and anxious.
Being too goal-oriented and focused goes hand in hand with being busy, driven, and worried. We can lose the ability to be more open, present, and have freedom and space in our minds and in our lives. Our quality of life is greatly improved by developing flexible attention, allowing us to move freely and responsively from narrow-focus concentration to open-focus awareness.
Mindfulness meditation can take us from narrow-minded concentration to open mindfulness.
Thanks to Vera Vernice | #Narrow #focus #concentration #open #focus #awareness