Where Focus Goes, Energy Flows

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Where Focus Goes, Energy Flows

We all have the ability to bring our attention or awareness to certain things. Often it’s by using our senses—by looking, tasting, or touching. Often it’s by directing our thoughts—by remembering, analysing, or obsessing.

Wherever we bring attention, we also bring energy and power. This is easy to observe on your yoga mat. Notice how focusing on your feet actually grounds you down. Notice how focusing on your hands sends energy upwards, lifting your body and your spirit.

The same is true for your thoughts and emotions. If you take the time to write down five things you’re grateful for, your sense of gratitude grows stronger. If you keep going back to the moment someone insulted you on the tube, your anger deepens.

We’re programmed to focus on things that hurt or scare us, things that our lizard brains sense as a threat. But we have evolved—there’s more to us than that. We have the power not to dwell on the negative, the power to turn our attention elsewhere.

Imagine the sound of your child crying. The noise itself immediately captures your attention, pulls you in. And your natural inclination is to stop it, to stop the distress—to control the situation. It’s a problem, and you have to fix it. But the more you try and it doesn’t go away, the more frustrated you get, and the bigger the problem seems. Pretty soon, all you see when you look at your child is a problem. Even if she stops crying this time, next time you hear the sound you jump back to that state of distress, and your frustration becomes even more infused with energy. It’s a cycle, one that allows what starts as a simple reaction to take over your life.

But you have a choice. What if, instead of focusing on the problem, you focused simply on being present? On listening to your child crying, being with her, and sensing what she might need. It may be there’s nothing you can do, except be there. But by focusing on being present, you create an energy of presence, and you become able to appreciate that moment with your child, just as it is.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t feel frustration. It just means that you have the power not to let it control you. The truth of who you are and how you want to live your life is always stronger than the forces that would pull you away from that center. Your reactions are not who you are. And if you acknowledge them, but turn your focus to your center, your center is what will strengthen, and you will be free to rest in a sense of larger possibility and presence.

So think about what you want most deeply in your life. Is it connection with others? Well the next time you interact with someone—anyone—focus on making it an opportunity to connect. You can ignore the barista making your coffee because you’re still steaming about the person who insulted you on the tube, or you can come into the present moment and ask her how her day is going. When you focus on connection, your energy will create it, and make it grow.

Ellie Norton is a 2018 Lumi 200-hour Teacher Training graduate and a passionate yogi and writer.  You can read more of her reflections on her blog, What I Learned This Week.