Concentration = quality of life
A dear friend asked me recently for some “tips and tricks on how to achieve focus and concentration”. She didn’t tell me what the reason of her question was. Maybe she needed to get concentrated in general or for a specific task, for work or just for reading a book from cover to cover without checking the phone every five minutes. Focus and concentration is not only needed to get a particular job done properly; it is also needed to thoroughly enjoy a walk through the forest, appreciate an interesting conversation or savor a chocolate ice-cream. Concentration, or focus, is key to achieving a daily but also a long-term quality of life but in my work with individual professionals and teams, I see many people around me who struggle with this as well. Actually, I struggle with it as well. Therefore, I took my friend’s question seriously and wrote her this:
Deep Time and Quick Time
“I know two things about focus and concentration. I know the beginning and I know the end.
The beginning starts with two things: the difference between Deep Time and Quick Time; and the difference between Deep Energy and Quick Energy. An example of Deep Time is the time needed to make a plant or tree grow. Or the time between the tides of the ocean. Or the time of the change of seasons or the movement of constellations. Quick Time is what occupies us on a daily basis. It is what you regulate with your alarm clock, what you think of when setting meetings or the time you spend on checking social media. Deep Time grounds and roots. Quick Time destabilizes and confuses.
Deep Energy and Quick Energy
The difference between Deep Energy and Quick Energy is connected with Deep Time and Quick Time. In most cases what is established through Deep Time (a beautiful nephrite stone for example) has Deep Energy and what is established through Quick Time (a brick) has no – or quick – energy. A drink from a mountain stream with water from a glacier has Deep Energy. A drink from a can of Red Bull has Quick Energy. We feel good in a forest, in the mountains, or by the ocean and we feel good when we lay a hand on an animal and sense its deep energy. When standing on an asphalt road, however, we usually don’t feel anything.
When we have difficulty concentrating or focusing it usually is the result of being distracted by Quick Energy and Quick Time. The ping of a new text message or email or the question of a friend or colleague that demands your attention. The way back to concentration and focus is through connecting with Deep Time and Deep Energy. Rooting and grounding ourselves by connecting with Deep Time and Deep Energy is the most direct way to balance, peace, focus and prolonged concentration. That is why we feel better in a mountain-home made of natural stone and wooden beams than in a prefabricated concrete building.
How to find Deep Energy within yourself?
The problem is that you may not always have a mountain-home, a forest, ocean or grass munching cow around to get in touch with Deep Energy. So, what to do when you’re at the tenth floor of an apartment building in the center of the concrete jungle of a megacity? Well, you have Deep Time and Deep Energy inside you as well. A person is made up of atoms after all; the same atoms that make up mountains, oceans, forests and cows. It is possible to connect to your own Deep Time and Deep Energy just like connecting to the Deep Time and Deep Energy of the ocean. And the good thing is that we can do this whenever we want.
An easy way to connect to your own Deep Time and Deep Energy is through sensory meditation.
Sensory meditation means focusing on your six senses and simply enjoying the process of sensing. I add “breath” as the sixth sense, next to taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing. Just experience the process of breathing. Enjoy the fact that you breathe and feel it pass through you. Taste it, hear it, smell it. Then focus on sound and enjoy the process of hearing – no matter what the sound is that you are hearing. It can be the sound of a bird or a car. The origin of the sound is irrelevant. The hearing of it is what’s relevant. The same with taste, touch, sight and smell. If it is hard for you to focus on a particular sense then imagine you don’t have this particular sense. Imagine a life without it. Then come back to realizing you have the sense. You would rather hear the noise of a car than not hear at all. And you would rather smell cow dung than not smell at all. Imagine you consume whatever you are sensing. Like this you connect with Deep Time and Deep Energy. This connection creates balance, peace, focus and concentration. This connection is important because, the foremost thing we crave for in life is to be connected.
Sit Your Butt Down And Keep It Down
So, this was the beginning of what I know about focus and concentration. It is a “short-cut” instruction to focus and concentration. Now you may ask yourself what the end is of what I know about focus and concentration.
Well, the end of focus and concentration is much more mundane than the beginning of it. It’s an even shorter “short-cut” instruction. It can be summarized in one, strangely sounding, acronym “SYBDAKID”. “SYBDAKID” means “Sit Your Butt Down And Keep It Down”.
So yes, we need to connect with deep time and deep energy to start focusing and concentrating but, unless you’re a Tibetan monk, in most cases this connection is just the beginning and we can easily get distracted again. Once you have started to focus and concentrate you just need to stick with it by sitting your butt down and keeping it down until you see a tangible result of your focus and concentration. In my practice it often means I sit my butt down and keep it down for such a long time that I fall asleep and wake up again several times. First, I felt ashamed of falling asleep while I should be working. Later I learned that falling asleep had two benefits. I would get the best insights and ideas in the slumber state between being awake and being asleep but more importantly, I had some of the greatest naps this way.
I can’t make it any more lofty or spiritual than this😊
I wish you a greater quality of live through a greater focus and concentration. Try it. It’s simple and it works.