The New Powerful You: Mastering Your Upgrade

Mastering your focus is critical. Slackers will either crash and burn or be stranded.

 

“You call this an upgrade?”

Yeah, I feel you. Sometimes it can feel like a handicap. Like you’ve been debilitated in some way. But think of it this way: if you went from riding a bicycle your whole life to suddenly driving a car, you’d probably be at a loss to make it work. There’s no doubt that the car is more powerful and you can do more with it, but if you don’t know how to drive it, you can’t appreciate the benefits. So you sit there, in the driver’s seat, missing your trusty old Schwinn. At least you knew what to do with it. In fact, in the time it takes to read this, you could have actually gone somewhere with it! Instead, you are stuck inside this new car staring at all the buttons, mirrors, backup cameras, GPS and so forth, unable to even traverse two blocks.

Sweetpeas, I hate to break it to you but you can’t have your bike back.

At least, not right now. You can take as long as you want to pout about it, and when you’re done with that you’ll need to learn to drive your car. Simple as that.

This post is about mastering your focus. You can also think about it as your attention or awareness.

Everyone needs to do this, but the difference for you is power or speed. When you regard a thing, you become it or merge with it, or absorb it. This happens when you rest your awareness on physical things, like a tree or a person or the night sky. It also happens when you rest your awareness on mind states or concepts, like emptiness or meaninglessness or depression or confusion or Buddhism or sin…or, being debilitated. Your awareness has become very subtle, keen and penetrating.

For most people, this is not as critical an issue because they have so much going on all the time, pulling in opposite directions, so they would have to do this repeatedly over a period of time to see much of an effect. In contrast, where you are is silent and all your bodies move in one direction. This integration is very powerful, but requires adjustment in how you wield your attention. You simply cannot afford to be sloppy with something this potent.

Consider this example: You notice that everything is empty, that emptiness pervades all things.

You then notice that all the meanings, the value, you gave to various aspects of your life are also empty. Then there appears a shadow. At first it is a small discomfort, like a tiny grain of sand in your shoe. You take off your shoe and find a tiny little grain of sand, and then inspect it. It is this feeling you label pointlessness.

Here you get stuck. Just a little. It makes sense to remove some irritating bit of sand from your shoe, but you don’t leave it behind and keep moving. You put it back in your shoe and keep walking with it, focusing on the discomfort you are now calling pointlessness. The grain becomes a pebble, and that becomes a bag of rocks you drag around and for some it becomes a boulder that they can’t move past or that pins them down.

Your focus, attention, awareness has become stuck, hijacked or fixated…a little or a lot. There is some idea or thing you contract around, instead of allowing your awareness to remain fluid. Your awareness is now caught on something sticky. Your clarity is compromised.

Now, if you do something to anchor this fixation on a physical level, if you take action on it, you give birth to something, you create something that has its own energy and motion and trajectory. One reader wrote that he uses alcohol and food to numb himself. What he’s doing is really trying to dull his focus, which has become fixated on something…in this case, meaninglessness or pointlessness or some sense of loss of the old life. Doing something physical based on this fixation of focus creates a powerful feedback loop that will have a real, physical impact.

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