Recently I taught a course on Shamatha meditation at Yamantaka FPMT center in Bogotá, Colombia. Shamatha means calm-abiding and attentional training through meditation. At the end of several weeks of teaching and practice, we had a meditation retreat to put all the things learned into practice.
Remember what you did last Monday. Do you remember what you ate? The clothes you wore, the people you met, the things you said?
Does it take a little work to remember? Perhaps it is because we constantly receive so much information and when we want to concentrate on what happens in the present there are so many distractions!
Our attention jumps from side to side, trying to multi-function on various tasks. When we decide to focus on a thing we can stay focused 3 to 10 seconds, before our mind begins to distract ourselves with thoughts, after 10 minutes of performing an activity, there is something that interrupts the flow of our attention and distracts us.
There are two practices in which we want to train our mind, the first is mental presence, through which we have an open attention to all the senses, aware of everything that is happening at the moment, without focusing on one thing in particular, but without leaving unnoticed something that is happening in the present.
The second practice is focused attention, we choose to focus and concentrate on something that is happening or we are doing in the present. We leave everything else in the periphery of our attention and as we concentrate more, we enter the state of flux where we no longer notice anything other than our object of attention. We lose track of time and what surrounds us. When we are so concentrated, joy arises and we enjoy what we are doing. But many times when we concentrate we become tense, so it is important to be aware of our body and mind and learn to relax them.
Both practices require mindfulness which is the ability to pay attention but also to remember to bring our attention back to the object.
The first thing to do is to recognize what it is important for us, and to give our attention to it, we need stop wasting our time by attending to thoughts and fantasies that have no relevance to our goals, and to focus here and now on what is truly important.
As we train more and more our attention, we become more efficient and we are able to make progress in what is important, so it is important to strengthen our attention through constant practice.
I recommend the following articles to continue learning about the training of this wonderful faculty of care:
Transform your mind
How to focus on your goals
Share your experience with these practices in the comments section below!
Our mind constantly pursues all kinds of desires, from the moment we wake up until we go to bed we compulsively pursue what we believe will bring us pleasure, well-being or happiness, and we try to avoid pain, discomfort and suffering.
The problem is that we want to achieve many things but we do not have the time to do all of them. At the end of the day we end up with a feeling that we have not progressed enough.
The first thing to ask ourselves is what is our motivation, why do you want to get what you are after? It all comes down to wanting more pleasure, recognition, success, stability, security, control or being loved and respected.
Now try to think if the achievement of your goals will benefit other beings. How would you feel if you succeeded in one of these goals, where you not only benefit yourself, but also those around you? A selfish motivation will bring you a brief pleasure while an altruistic motivation will bring you great lasting satisfaction.
To achieve any goal, you need effort and dedication, but above all a FOCUSED MIND and a CLEAR MOTIVATION.
- Start by focusing on only 1 to 3 goals, which are really meaningful and complement each other.
- Determine yourself to let go of all those little goals that only distract you and focus only on your main goal.
- Practice mental training in attention to develop a focused and clear mind.
Do you find it easy to focus your mind?
I am interested in knowing if you have practiced some technique to improve your attention and concentration. How long have you practiced? Do you have any advice for someone just beginning? Do you have any advice to share? Or any questions about the methods I share here?
Please leave a comment. Your experience could really benefit someone else.