focus is the willful concentration of attention on a single point
or idea to the exclusion of all else. Soft focus is the purposeful
expansion of awareness to include the whole environment, without
singling out any one part, and being aware that you are aware.
work is a combination of both kinds of focused attention. Hard,
or singular focus, is necessary in the beginning to concentrate
the mind and organize an idea, problem, or desire that you want
to create. Most people are familiar with this kind of concentrated
attention. In fact, we are all too familiar with this approach.
We have assumed this is the only kind of useful focus to apply to
any situation. Though it is useful, and necessary at some stage
in creating our desires, without a soft focus we miss the subtle
clues and opportunities that are part of the solution or final product.
focus is best described as an expanded attention with conscious
awareness. Essentially, you simply become aware that you are aware.
You don't focus on any one thing. You become the act of awareness
itself, without placing that awareness on any one thing. This is
a powerful tool and heavily overlooked in western society. This
is the heart of Zen practice initially. Soft focus is not the same
as being "spaced out" since that frame of mind is really
a kind of unconscious focus with the eyes open. Soft focus
is not daydreaming, as you are focusing on one idea to the exclusion
of others when you daydream.
focus begins with a relaxation of the mind and visual field. You
become aware of all that is around you simultaneously, but acutely
aware that you are aware. This is Self watching Self. Pure observation
of awareness itself. A bit of a paradox. Mediators can relate to
this idea fairly quickly, as this is the purpose of many eastern
meditations. This is what you find when you enter the Void. There
is no-thing to place your focus on, but you are aware that you are
aware and encircled with potential.
value of soft focus is fairly obvious. In order to maintain an open
mind about anything you are attempting to accomplish, you literally
have to open your mind. Float away for a time from all your prejudices,
assumptions, needs, and limitations towards the project or problem
you are addressing. Without this emptying of the mind any hidden
possibilities would be missed.
this simple technique:
the body wherever you are. This can be at work, home or traveling
(though not advised when driving a car).
your emotional state. Allow yourself to become passive to your
out to something quite neutral in your environment.
The sky is a good place.
A white wall.
Anything that wont distract a passive
the space that surrounds you.
that you are that space.
that you are expanding out into the empty space around you.
a feeling of expansion to permeate your mind.
yourself to become aware that you are aware, but without boundaries.
can close your eyes if you need to, but after awhile you can do
this with eyes open.
favorite approach to this, and something I do everyday in meditation
for a period of time, is the following: imagine yourself as a blue
feather that is floating on the wind. There is no destination, no
time, no obstacles, just a free floating feeling. You are aware
that you are floating freely with no place to go and no time to
be anywhere. Just be and enlarge into that sense of freedom and
focus can be practiced almost anywhere and anytime. If you are struggling
with a problem that needs immediate solution, after you have concentrated
on what the problem is, and searched for known solutions, allow
yourself the ability to do a soft focus before you determine a solution.
If you have a vague idea of a creative project you want to start,
after you have narrowed down your ideas and materials, allow a soft
focus to keep your mind open to any possibilities that could improve
the aspect of Self that is always aware of everything around you
to come to the surface of your awareness. This is the same mind,
or Self, that is regulating your body every second, keeping complete
homeostasis present and alive, and in your dream state. There is
an aspect of every human being that never sleeps and is ever alert
and ready to maintain the life in its domain. Call this Self
anything you want, the unconscious, higher self, spirit guide, whatever
your religious and philosophical persuasion allows. Naming it doesnt
change its essence or its ability to aid you in everything you do.
Learn to use Self as a tool for creative thought.
the quote above states, a mind once stretched never returns to its
former state. Expanding your mind literally by imagining it expanding
without boundary, and allowing it to becomes aware of itself, will
keep your mind ever elastic and receptive to creative ideas and
approaches to life. This is the most simple and elegant exercise
you can adopt every day to maintain an "open mind". It
becomes easier to experience with practice and is a very refreshing
break from normal thought.