Joanna Jast knows a little bit about Focus. So much so that her first book Laser-Sharp Focus: A No-Fluff Guide to Improved Concentration, Maximised Productivity…
About a year ago, I finally decided to try and put the small amount I’d learned about meditation into practice and start sitting for 20 minutes a day.
I downloaded one of the popular apps, found a quiet and comfortable spot where no one or thing could bother me, put on some loose clothing, and started the timer.
Then the floodgates opened.
Am I doing it right? Should I focus on my stomach or my nose? Should I feel happy feelings? This doesn’t feel so enlightening. I could be checking Twitter. I NEED to check Twitter. Breakfast soon. Mmm pancakes. Oh now I’m in the future, I wonder what Buddhists think about thinking about the future? Ahhh I have cramp!
There’s a big question we all need to consider.
It’s not easy — in fact, it’s pretty confronting…. but it needs to be asked.
That question is:
Are we letting fear run our culture?
With the recent shock election result, recently we’ve seen a lot of fear and confusion dominate the mainstream narrative.
But the reality is the news often profits from the perpetuation of distressing emotions, and all the time at the expense of our collective mental health.
Fear doesn’t make for good decision-making. In order to live the most fruitful life you can, and to grow and prosper as a global society, we need to learn how to calm and overcome our biologically pre-programmed fears.
So what exactly is fear?
Gary Weber is an interesting guy.
Over 15 years ago he was the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, with a thousand or so employees under his leadership.
Everything was going normally, except on one morning when something very strange happened to Gary.
He lost his mind.
Gary was doing his morning Yoga ritual and went up into a pose that he had done thousands of times. He was practicing a simple self-inquiry meditation, and when he came down, his mind was gone.
When I say lost his mind, I don’t mean he lost control (he would say he never had it). What I mean is that he lost all self-referential thoughts; the never-ending stream of noise that goes through ours heads every single day.
Let me start this off with a little bit of honesty.
You may not know why you are reading this. But I’m pretty sure I do.
And let’s be clear. It’s not because you lack a skill. Nor is it because you lack time.
It’s not because your co-workers are difficult, or you need a quick boost of motivation from the Internet.
And it’s definitely not because of that sneaky little lie your ego is harboring.
You know the one.
The one that waits gutlessly until your body is tired. Until you’re hungry or you’re sleepy or your boss has just scolded you.
The one that seizes the moment and whispers “maybe you’re just not good enough,” and in the second of weariness you just about believe it.
No, that’s not why you are here.
You’re here because you understand that a lot of the time, skill doesn’t mean confidence.
Tell me you haven’t had this feeling.
It’s the end of the day, and you’re sitting on the couch at home, exhausted. Your back feels stiff, and your brain is tired and fuzzy.
You’re trying to take a break, but even in your moment of rest, the idea that tomorrow you’ve got to get up and continue to work on a million and one things is still floating around in the back of your mind.
And the worst part about this?
It’s that throughout all the tiredness and exhaustion you’re still sitting there and thinking: “I could’ve done more today.”
I know that feeling all too well.
Whereas once upon a time I would have had this experience almost every single day without exception (weekends included), fortunately now it’s far less often.