How Focused Are You

Are we not an extremely distracted society?  Hang on……somebody just FB messaged me, wait now I’m getting a text, I’ve got to now read this email that promises to make me a boatload of money, in probably 4 hours a week!!!!

You get the idea.  Information of all kinds is at our mercy.  We have access to all of it instantly.  Personally, I think it’s fantastic and detrimental.  Since we are “on” all the time, it’s really hard for me to shut my mind off now.  I have to have those stimuli or my mind thinks something is wrong.  I feel anxious without my phone or my Mac with me.  I mean what if I miss something?!

For me personally, this connectivity has weakened my ability to maintain a laser focus on things that are really important.  To me, being able to focus on completing an important task, or focusing on what I really want in life is very important.  Therefore, I’m practicing getting my focus back.  It’s tougher than I thought it would be, and I hope you find it interesting.

For the last two weeks I have been working on meditating while I stretch, for 4 minutes a day.  The studies are out there (you’ve got access to that information via the net so I won’t reference them here) that suggest meditation can lead to all sorts of wonderful mind and health benefits.  That’s all fine and good, but I’m doing it because I have lost the ability to clear my mind, to drive out every distraction, and to rest in silent solitude for even 4 minutes at a time.  Try it, try to not think about anything for even 1 minute.  I’ll bet you find it more difficult than you anticipate.

It feels really really great.  For 4 minutes, I can let go of everything.  Those 4 minutes are truly mine, and with practice I will expand them and hone my abilities.  Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  1. Ideally, Find a Quiet Spot.  I’ve read that meditation is possible anywhere, but when you’re trying to learn it’s best if you attempt in seclusion and quiet, which will minimize your distraction.
  2. Kill Your Phone, Set a Timer for 2 Minutes, and Get Comfortable.  Turn the iPhone off, get a kitchen timer or another timer that isn’t hooked to the net, and assume a comfortable pose.  I’ve been meditating while in seated pigeon or working on a middle splits progression, but any comfortable position will do.
  3. Start Small.  Two minutes is plenty at first.  Start small and build up.
  4. Focus on your breath.  I count my breaths in and out.  1-in, 2-out, up to 10 and then I start over.  I focus on the numbers and nothing else.  It’s hard!  Thoughts creep into my head, and they will yours as well, but catch them, re-focus and keep counting.
  5. Relax.  You’re not going to be perfect the first time (or maybe the first 100 times), but you’ll find a rhythm.

It is fascinating to me how I can’t hold my focus for even 2 minutes without some random thoughts creeping into my mind.  I notice them, often mid thought, and then slowly re-focus on my breathing and return my mind to being empty.

My goal is this, once I can be distraction free for 2 minutes, I’ll start to build the time working up to perhaps 10 minutes of meditation.  Once I’ve mastered that I’ll start to focus on a specific goal, rather than my breathing.  I’ll visualize myself accomplishing this goal and then meditate on the feeling that elicits.  I’ve read this visualization/meditation can be a powerful tool; I’ll let you know how it turns out :)

The fact for me is this: I should be able to clear my mind at will and let every worry, fear, anticipation, and distraction go.  We are not training ourselves to do this in our connected society.  Give it a try for at least a 2 week commitment.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what just 2 minutes of meditation will do for you.

The O-Board Says…

A. 30 Minute PT Grinder

B. Back – To – Back
10 Minute AMRAP
50 Double Unders
25 KB Swings
10 Ring Dips or Dumbbell Pushups

5 Minute AMRAP
25 Double Unders
15 KB Swings
10 Ring Dips or Dumbbell Pushups

Post by Stets.