Our ability to focus and hold our attention on a task is key to its accomplishment. The fact that “Attention Deficit Disorder” is such a common diagnosis nowadays is an indication of the widespread problem we have in controlling our attention. Given the amount of information we are confronted with and asked to respond to daily, perhaps it is not surprising that we become overwhelmed and stuck in an almost perpetual state of distraction. We don’t know what to focus on, what is important and what is merely interesting, what relates to our purpose, goals, problems and concerns and what doesn’t. Perhaps as a species we are in some kind of evolutionary “growth period” waiting for the new version of Homo Sapiens 2.0 to emerge and who will be able to manage all this information, but until then, there is meditation.
In meditation you experience a different kind of focus from concentration. When you concentrate on something your focus narrows to exclude everything else. However the focus in meditation is expansive and inclusive. In other words you can meditate on a question and at the same time be aware of your hunger and the sound of traffic outside and they do not distract you from your question. People often feel they fail at meditation because they can’t shut off their thoughts. When they become still they become even more aware of all the mental chatter in their head. They thought that meditation would give them a break from that. However meditation does not give us a break from ourselves, it gives us the opportunity to know ourselves outside the box of our habitual thinking. The way to do that is to focus your attention on techniques like grounding and running energy. You don’t try to stop the thoughts, you simply divert your attention away from them, and after a while you will find they have faded into the background of an expanded space of awareness that you are now experiencing. What you do when you ground and run energy is make space for your intuitive awareness to come to the fore, and one of the characteristics of intuitive awareness is inclusiveness. When we think analytically about a situation it will tend to bring us to an either/or conclusion, I can either do this or I can do that. When you meditate on something and engage your intuition you will discover there are options and possibilities that you had not previously considered. Your intuition enables you to see yourself and others from a different perspective, a perspective that frees you from patterns of recurrent thoughts so that you can know what is true for you in that moment.