“Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality.” – Chagdud Rinpoche
Traditionally the word “focus” means to concentrate or pay particular attention to. But “focus” has so many expanded meanings for me. For example, all these ways of being depend on one’s capacity for focus, but are also not limited by it:
- Mindfulness and awareness
- Spacious awareness
- Relaxed awareness
- Loving awareness
When I use the word “focus,” I don’t mean being overly concentrated. You can focus lightly on one thing, but still be cognizant of everything else going on around you. That’s spacious awareness that is both relaxed and alert.
On Track with the Most Important Priorities
With all these big, beautiful states of mind luring me, why would I choose the more boring “focus” as my one powerful word for 2014?
I want focus because I want to center my attention on the most important priorities. I want to let go of everything unimportant and unnecessary in my life and in my work. I don’t want to have regrets when death arrives – which could be at any moment – because I wasted my life on minutiae.
What are these priorities? For me, they include:
- Love and gratitude
- Work that serves and illuminates
- Meditation that expresses mindfulness, awareness, and a warm heart
- A balanced self-nourishment so I have the foundation to nourish others
- Wasting time online
- Floundering around in self-doubt and other unhelpful emotional states
- Having more things to do than time to do them in
- Unrealistic time assessments
- Living in the past or the future
If there are any underlying patterns obstructing my focus this year, I’ll be teasing them out.
Keep Stating the Intention
I know there is a big gap between how I am now and how I want to be. Being ever so human, I am often pulled away from mindful awareness into old streams of thoughts and emotions.
That’s OK. I will just bring my mind back to the present moment when I find that it is lost without chastising myself. I will keep stating my intention each day, appreciate all the moments of mindfulness I do have, and enjoy the journey to greater awareness.
The best resource I’ve found on focus – in the traditional sense – is Leo Babauta’s book Focus. You can download 27 chapters for free or opt for the expanded, paid version.
I want to live in spacious, loving mindfulness and awareness and focus on what’s really important in this life. That’s my aim for 2014 and my word for the year is “focus.”
Do you have trouble with focus? How do you work with it?
I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra