Day 9: Developing the Power of Focus

Sally-Anne, 09.10.20

Welcome to Day 9 of 21 Days on the Mountain. Today we are nestled among the trees in mountain woodland, embracing the sense of peace that comes from being surrounded by nature. 

Our Power of Pause practice today focuses on the tiny details rather than the big picture. How often do we actually stop, in the busyness of our day, to look at things? To really look at all the tiny details, or to look into the eyes of another human being, and take time to understand the person behind the behaviour?

Balanced Awareness is one of the four pillars of Mindful Command and our Evolving Leadership programme. To be able to change something, we need to be able to look at it from all angles and have an accurate awareness from three different perspectives – our own, that of others, and the context of the situation. 

So join me in today’s video, where we practice the Power of Pause with our eyes open, and learn to really see both the close-up detail and the big picture in our surrounding environment. 

Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to 21 Days On The Mountain, a chance for us to pause together for a few minutes. So I’ve been sitting here in this wood on a mountain. There’s a huge stretch of quite steep climb to my right, a ton of fir trees, a lot of boulders and rocks that have fallen probably in some landslide at some point or other, covered in moss and lichen, and lots and lots of things growing in it. And I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes or so, it’s about ten minutes from our house, and I noticed that as I sit, quite still, a sense of peace, almost as if a sense of peace were kind of invading my body, just listening to the sounds of nature. 

And also starting to look. You know when I first arrived, it was almost as if I was looking, you know, on a big scale, the fact there were lots of trees and rocks and moss and so on, that I just described, and then as I sat, I started to notice the smaller scale stuff. 

I found myself at one point looking very closely at a single leaf, and as I looked at it, it was as if the leaf transformed itself in front of my eyes. The same leaf that I’d looked at casually, you know, at first. And then starting to notice the detail, almost the depth of it. 

And then I picked up – oh here they are – a couple of fir cones. They were lying down together. One quite big, and one quite small. And I just started to look at the difference between them. This one more fully formed, perhaps, smoother in one direction, quite prickly on the other. Changing color and texture in the light as I move it. And this one, not actually very open, quite small, quite confined, smoother, but perhaps less interesting or something, at least initially. 

You probably know where I’m going with this. I guess what came to me as I was sitting here today, was that I was struck by how rarely, how seldom, I stop and really look. Really look not only at this beautiful spot in nature, which is a huge privilege to be in for sure, but at any other time, how often do I look into the eyes of another human being? 

How often when somebody’s annoyed me, or frustrated me, or irritated me in some way, do I stop and look at the human being behind the behavior? Look into the depth of that person’s heart, maybe even their soul, and see their suffering too. So I don’t know how well I look most of the time, but at least now, in this moment, we can pause together and look. 

So today as we pause, perhaps rather than closing our eyes and listening inside, and by all means do that if you want to, perhaps today you might just look around you, wherever you’re sitting, wherever you are or standing, and just look at one object in your vicinity that’s been there for a while, that you put there at some point, and just look at it again as if you were looking at it for the first time. 

And so in guiding this meditation I’m going to begin by closing my eyes to help me focus and concentrate. But then I’m going to open them too and I’m going to look at one thing for a couple of minutes, and just notice how in that two minutes I see things that I might previously have missed. 

So pausing, bringing our awareness into this space between the sternum and our navel, and then bringing our awareness to our breath. Breathing in gently, softly, without forcing, following the movement of our breath into our body, allowing it to arrive here in this space, and then following its movement out. 

Expanding the space as we breathe in, releasing and letting go as we breathe out. And now together, continuing to follow our breath, let’s – if you want to – let’s open our eyes, and place our focus on something or someone as if we were looking at it or at them for the first time. And breathe.

Pause… 

And when you’re ready, on your next outbreath, bring your focus back to me. 

So I’m curious, what did you see? 

Thank you for joining me here today in this overwhelmingly peaceful spot. I look forward to you joining me again tomorrow. Have a lovely lovely day. Thank you.

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