The Gift of Focus
Yogi Bhajan says, if you’re able to slow your breath down to 4 breaths/min, and keep it there, you become enlightened.
You know what happens at 4 breaths/min? You slow down. You relax. Your mind quiets. You gradually sink into yourself like a feather bed. At 4 breaths/min, there's no way that you're detached from yourself (i.e. your mind racing away from your emotions and body).
At 4 breaths/min, you're very much with yourself. You are present.
And you know what happens when you are present with yourself? You become present to everything around you. No judgement, no fear, no reaction. Simply being with the whole that is both your and your environment.
We need to BE PRESENT IN OUR BODIES to experience consciousness.
This is "enlightenment" - to be so with yourself, so immersed in presence, that no level of fear or provocation can separate you from it.
During my practice this morning, I had the experience of being with myself. A beautiful awareness of the exquisiteness of the body and its sensations. I felt the breath fill my insides, the air on my skin, the sounds around me. I felt the glorious beauty of simply being alive.
And then a thought came in, swiftly carrying me away to a place of separation. No longer with the sensations of the moment, I felt a sense of fear creeping in from the menacing thought. Just like that, my focus shifted and I left myself.
But this ability to shift focus is an exquisite human feature. It can focus outside or inside the self. It can focus wide to expansive consciousness, or narrow to details in front of you. This multidimensional lens is truly miraculous. If only we can gain the awareness to wield it.
Where we point our focus, we follow. And the thoughts we tell ourselves about the thing we are focusing on color that experience. Focus, then, determines our experience.
What about freedom?
As a saggitarius, I've always identified with my "free spirit" nature. Feeling free and living in truth have been my cornerstones. A consequence of which is a rebellious questioning of all potential forms of restriction.
I now see that focus has been one of them.
For, doesn't freedom mean letting my focus lead the spontaneous path forward? Isn't "living in the mystery of spirit" equivalent to letting your focus run wild?
The answer is NO. Especially for a clairsentient person who tracks multidimensionally. In fact, letting focus run wild creates no freedom, since your experience is then dictated by the stimuli around you. This is victimhood, not empowerment.
The ability to direct your focus, and not be moved by automatic and subconscious responses to life, is freedom. Choice lives in the conscious direction of focus.
As my friend Maggie has said, "it takes discipline to be a free spirit", and I now understand why. To have choice, we must necessarily have influence over the mechanism that gives us choice - our awareness. Focus is the tool for doing so.
Staying present is the key.
Maintaining focus with ourselves doesn't result in constant bliss. In fact, it's usually the uncomfortable feelings that keep us from staying with ourselves in the first place.
But feelings are not permanent. They move and change. What is permanent is the divine love that we are. THIS is something we can stay focused on when breathing into discomfort. The more we give this love to ourselves, the deeper we build trust with our physical and emotional bodies. The more they will know that it is safe to feel and express, because our focus will not abandon them. And the easier this process will become of feeling and integrating uncomfortable experiences, so that the default state of self is ultimately one of peace and joy.
Sound healing is a potent tool for navigating hard emotions and relaxing into the self. Come to an upcoming Sound Journey to experience the power of sound, or book a private session by reaching out directly. Private sessions are 20% for a limited time until Aug 16.
Adriana is a sound practitioner, kundalini yoga teacher, and trained ceremony facilitator. Follow her on IG @ dreaminsound, or sign up for her newsletter.