#8 Focusing the Mind

Making every day your training day.

This is the shortest and more important lesson I have learned.  It has to do with the every day training of your mind.

Focusing your mind, concentrating, “being in the moment” improves everything you think or do.  Concentration is rightly called the mother of all skills.  When your mind is focused, it becomes calm, quiet, and still.  Through concentration anything becomes possible. You never completely master the act of concentrating, but by consistent and persistent training you can continually get better at it.

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This vital, life-enhancing skill has roots in ancient times, thousands of years ago.  Yet, it is tragically missing in today’s noisy, hectic, distracting world, in which we gorge our senses and starve our sensitivities.

Focusing your mind is as simple as breathing, yet impossible to keep doing.  In fact, it begins with breathing.  When you gently and rhythmically bring air deep inside your body, pause momentarily, and breathe out, your mind automatically, automatically, becomes still, quiet, and calm.  It simply happens without effort.  In this moment, you are completely present and alive.  The here and now is the only time and place where you can accomplish anything. Once again, the here and now is the only time and place where you can accomplish anything.  The present is real; the unreal past, a memory; the unreal future, imaginary.

Your mind, however, is a rascal.  It is forever convincing you that the present, the task at hand, is “boring”.  It’s so easy and so much fun to drift away into the past or future.  And sometimes, it’s not fun at all, but your mind always wants to go somewhere else.  Well, you can train your mind to stay in the present tense, at least some of the time.  And that will make all the difference.

You begin to focus your mind by conscious, rhythmic, deep breathing.  It’s perfectly natural.  Then, stay in the moment and deal with the task in front of you, one task at a time.  Be content and immersed with what you are doing.  So-called multi-tasking dilutes the effect.  You’ll do nothing well.  (cell phone, etc)

This may be the most difficult lesson of all, being content and immersed with what you are doing.  I mean, most of what we do, when it comes right down to it, can be considered “boring”.  By training your mind to breathe and be content with what’s in front of you, you develop the habit of concentration.  By training in this ultimate skill you find the pathway to realizing your human potentials.

When you make a habit of concentrating on caring for your teeth, you will successfully keep them in good health.  But most importantly, by developing habits of concentration for teeth care or for that matter, anything else, you will be training your mind to concentrate, to focus, and to stay in the moment.  This is the most important lesson of all.  A focused mind is quiet, calm, and still.  It can accomplish anything.