Focus attention meditation – Toby Ouvry: The Miracle Of attention

Ever wondered if you can transform your reality and change your perspective on life through focused attention meditation or mindfulness? Well, the short answer is yes. 

In this article, Toby Ouvry, speaks on the miracle of attention, focus attention meditation, and how giving strong attention to something or practicing attentional control towards our thoughts and surroundings have neural correlates and has positive effects on our prefrontal cortex. This can greatly affect the way we perceive the individual realities we live and by transforming the mind through meditation (and paying focused attention) we can transform the way we see many things and the way we live our lives.

Focused attention or meditation such as transcendental meditation, according to previous studies, can also cause great changes in cognitive processes such as attentional selection, divergent thinking, convergent thinking, and conflict monitoring. Monitoring meditation can play a huge role in these cognitive shifts.

The miracle of attention

Focus Attention Meditation

By Toby on November 22nd, 2021

“Imagine yourself on the side of a mountain looking at the sky. For a time simply try and keep 90% of your attention on the sun, the clear sky, and the bright clouds. You are not denying the dark clouds, you are just acknowledging the large expanse of “beautiful sky”, and giving yourself time to take it in and enjoy it”

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below looks at how you can transform your life (miraculously) by transforming your attention.

The miracle of attention

The basic proposition of mindfulness is that the world that appears to you can be changed by how you pay attention to it. The art of mindfulness is paying attention to your reality at this moment in the right way, so it gives you the result you want in terms of feeling effective and empowered, as well as ‘happy’ in the way you choose to define that term.

You can think of mindfulness as being ‘miraculous’ in the sense that you can change your experience through your attention in this way. You can re-work your reality, transform it and create something else through your focus, kind of like Jesus turning water into wine. It’s not as outwardly explicit as transforming water into wine, but it’s more miraculous than that in the sense that it offers a genuine, do-able method to grasp control of your perception and experience. The exercise below is one example of how you can start ‘working miracles in your life.

Looking out from a mountainside
Imagine you’re sitting on the side of a mountain, looking over a landscape. There is a broad horizon and a big sky in front of you, perhaps with the sun halfway towards the setting. There are some clouds in the sky, and some clear patches where the blue and gold of the sky and sun dominate.

About 10% of the sky is dark with rainclouds, but the rest is a varied and beautiful sky-scape that you can sit and enjoy watching from your mountainside. As well as the blue and gold, there are lots of other colors, the white of the clouds, and the pinks, oranges, and reds when the sun filters through them. On top of this, there is also the beauty of the ground level, where there might be fields, lakes, and trees.

The sky of your life
Let’s say what Winston Churchill said about worry is true: “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened”.
So, most of our worries don’t happen, but maybe 10-15% do. So then, let’s say we have sixteen waking hours a day. We can allot 10% of that time to either:

  • Thinking and strategizing about our worries intelligently or
  • Just outright worrying!

If 10% of our day is 90mins, then the rest of our day, fourteen and a half hours, we can focus on:

  • The good things in our life
  • Things that help us feel safe and confident
  • Attention to things that help us to relax, regenerate and calm down when we want
  • Attention to things that that help us to feel excited, empowered, and energized
  • Things that cause us to grow and learn

If your inner and outer life are like the ‘sky’ in the image above, then during your average day, 90% of your attention should be on the good things, and 10% on your worries. The hypothesis is then that, if you do this, then you are going to have a very different experience of your life. You will have affected a ‘miracle’ in your life, simply by paying attention differently.

Trying it out
For 10-15mins, sit quietly, and if you like visualize yourself on the side of a mountain looking at the sky as described above. For that time simply try and keep 90% of your attention on the good stuff. You are not denying the dark clouds, you are just acknowledging the large expanse of “beautiful sky”, and giving yourself time to take it in and enjoy it.
If you train in this way regularly, you train your attention to gradually shift from where it is now towards 90% of it is on the things that energize and feed your wellbeing. In this way, gradually, you affect a miracle in your life.

Related articleMeditation as a positive mindfulness game

 ‘Head in the Sun’ meditation

This is a simple meditation that combines cultivating a thought-free state with environmental awareness. Specifically, we use brain relaxation in combination with awareness of the sun’s light to create the desired experience.

Finding the sun – This first stage is nice to do, and enhances the experience, but is not essential. Glance outside and locate the sun, physically in the sky. Get a sense of where it is in your current landscape. If the sun has gone down already, get a sense of where it is beneath the horizon.

Sitting in a landscape – Then take a seat (this can also be done standing or lying and, when you’re used to it, walking) Send your awareness out to the horizon line in the landscape around you. Get a feel for the curve of the earth’s surface extending around you from your feet, the sun in the sky above, and the living planet beneath you. Breath and relax with this for a short while.

Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking for a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress, and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships, and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation, and connectivity in your life?

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About Author: Toby Ouvry

Toby Ouvry has been practicing and teaching mindfulness and meditation for over 20 years now. He is a teacher and trainer on this subject and author of the book ‘Engaged Mindfulness – What mindfulness is and how can we apply it to our daily lives’.