Focusing is simply being able to tune in to yourself.
With a radio set, you have tune in to the station you want to hear. There are lots of other stations asking for your attention. And if there is too much noise going on outside, like the TV being on, it’s harder to listen in. Once you’re tuned in, you can really give your attention to the programme you want to hear.
Focusing is similar. It’s tuning in to something, only this is something inside of you, something about you you’ve not really been attending to very much.
Think about it. Even as you’re sitting (or standing!) consciously reading this, there are other things going on for the whole person of ‘You’: your body is balancing where you are sitting, you are breathing, smelling scents in the air as you do so; you are hearing background noise – but you’ve probably blocked most of that out in order to concentrate on reading.
There’s maybe other stuff you may not have noticed. There may be a pressured feeling about the time, knowing you’ve got other things to do. You may be feeling uncomfortable about something someone said to you, and it’s there in the background nagging away at you somewhere. You might be about to go on holiday, and there’s an inward excitement making it difficult to concentrate. You’re not actively noticing them; you would have to tune in more consciously in order to do so.
Focus is actively noticing lots of things like this that you normally don’t engage with; sometimes that you don’t want to engage with. What happens is that if you try to block these out or ignore them or just not notice them at all, they don’t go away. They’ll be back, if not now, another time. And sometimes, this can become troublesome, building up into other felt symptoms like stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, indecisiveness, a feeling of your life being un-lived the way you long for it to be.
If you haven’t been listening, part of you might feel it has to shout!
If you learn Focusing, it will help you – really help you – to come alongside these feelings and help them shift into somewhere they – and, as it happens, you, too – would like them to go. You don’t have to steel yourself into trying to do better, or fix yourself, or pull yourself up by your own boot strings. With Focusing, you can just learn to tune in with compassion to whatever part of yourself needs that attention right now. And then wait, and see where it wants to go…