Day 22: Focused Attention / Concentration
Let's begin by taking a moment to allow your body to settle (2 seconds). Find a comfortable position that allows your spine to be long but with a natural curve in the low back. For this practice you may want to close your eyes (2 seconds). Let the belly and shoulders relax (5 seconds).
Today I’ll guide you through a focused attention practice focusing on the breath. This will help calm your mind and relax your body (5 seconds).
Before we start, take a full breath in (2 seconds)
and a long breath out (5 seconds).
Now allow the breath to find its natural rhythm, in and out (10 seconds).
Without trying to change your breathing in any way,
take this time to notice how your body breathes,
you may feel the breath as air passes underneath your nostrils
or in the rise and fall of your body.
Choose one area to observe the breath for the next few minutes.
Whichever you choose direct your attention to noticing the inhale (2 seconds) and the exhale (20 seconds).
Whenever you find that the mind has wandered,
just come back to the breath (5 seconds).
Notice the different aspects of the breath right now.
The phases of the inhale and the exhale.
Whether your breath is warm or cool, deep or shallow.
Observe if there is a pause between the end of one complete breath
and the beginning of the next (20 seconds).
If your mind is wandering,
counting can be helpful in maintaining focus on the breath.
So at the bottom of each exhale count silently from one to ten.
Inhale exhale. Count one.
Inhale exhale, two.
Still noticing the sensations of the breath (20 seconds).
When the mind wanders again, just come back to one (2 seconds)
and start again without judgement (20 seconds).
As we begin to close this practice, bring your attention back to the body.
How does your body feel? (10 seconds)
Are there sounds around you? (5 seconds)
What are the sensations of the clothes or air on your skin? (15 seconds)
Feel where your feet or body make contact with the ground (5 seconds), maybe wiggle your fingers and your toes (5 seconds).
If you want you can gently open your eyes now and take in the world around you.
You can also stay sitting for a few more moments as your body and mind return to alertness (5 seconds).
As you continue with the rest of your day,
you can access this gentle refocused energy again by refocusing for a few moments on your breath in the way we just practiced (2 seconds).
Lets finish this focused attention practice now by taking a full breath in (2 seconds)
and a long breath out (5 seconds)
*ding* (15 seconds).
Practice generous listening with someone today. When in a conversation, place all of your attention on the other person; listen with your ears and heart.
How does that shift the experience of the conversation for you?
How do you think that experience was for them?