shine a light

Attentional Focus Training is a thing. I think you could say that it is Don Greene's thing.

I have thought of my attentional focus as a torch for some time. It is a concept taught in meditation - close your eyes, notice the sounds, run your mind from the top of your head to your toes, notice your breath, notice that the breath is warm on the way out, cooler on the way in. Bring your mind back to your breath when you have noticed that it has wandered. At the end of a meditation, some guided meditations suggest letting your mind do what ever it wants.

The focus of my torch can be narrow or broad, close in and harsh, far away and soft, slow or fast moving. At the same time you use the idea of a torch moving as attention, you notice who is noticing the torch moving. It is a bit like this when you are playing music.

When I start a big piece, I am trying to train my different levels of focus. 

All at once it is like there are number of torches. There is a large overhead drone one, where your mind can oversee the whole piece. There are a number of smaller street lights and there is an adjustable intensity one that travels with the music. Sometimes it is bright, harsh and intense. Sometimes gentle, broad and soft.

Sometimes it is wandering off looking at the cobwebs on the ceiling, or the squashed dead moth  on the floor. Sometimes it is switched off, forgotten to be turned on. Or sometimes it has run out of battery. 

Sometimes it stares blankly ahead. Unseeing.

Under pressure often I loose control of the torch. It spins out of control, falling and banging on the ground.

Or it turns its full intensity on the butterflies bashing around my insides, my wobbly legs, my dry mouth and sweating hands. 

The torch metaphor has helped me get a bit of distance from the struggle, so I don't get my foot stuck in the stinky, slimy, swamp so often.

And I am free to move toward a life that I want.

Deborah HartComment