I have talked in previous blogs about the importance of learning to quiet our monkey brains. It is that constant chatter that goes on nonstop in our minds while we are engaged in both large and small tasks. Occasionally we hit a peak of concentration and we are ‘in the flow.’ That is the rare moment when we are totally absorbed in what we are doing and time just seems irrelevant. We finally look up at the clock and think, ‘Where did the time go?’ Those experiences are gems for us to hold onto and appreciate for many reasons. After all, through deeper concentration we are developing new synapses in our brains! When we experience this type of thinking we realize that it really is possible to stop listening and responding to the constant barrage of running monologue within our mind that dissipates our energy. That’s important because so much of it is useless, distracting even negative chatter that keeps us from bringing our total self to the experience.
These rare moments of clarity and insight happen when we have an alignment of our energy and focus. We can visualized this with a Rubik’s Cube. We begin aligning the six faces which are covered by nine stickers each one displaying one of six colors. Using an internal pivot mechanism in the Cube it allows each face to turn independently. When we finally achieve the matching colors on each side of it we realize the intense concentration and satisfaction we have achieved by controlling our effort and concentration. We did not achieve completion of it by being distracted by the constant what if’s, reviewing a list of concerns, tasks yet to be completed or worries about things in life that we cannot change.
We achieved the mastery of the Cube through intense FOCUS. When we are totally absorbed in a work task, book or even in conversation with another we actually achieve with laser like precision a deeper level of understanding. Any negative assumptions or personal slights we may have interpreted as real most often are simply from a lack of focused understanding in a conversation. These are moments where we think to ourselves, ‘Aha! This is what it is all about. Now I get it!’
I realize that the daily list of tasks seem to become longer with each passing day. That’s okay. It’s called life. Just remember it is not the number of tasks that’s important but the AMOUNT OF YOU that you bring to each task. If you are trying to accomplish something but thinking about 5 other things while doing so it dilutes the experience and lessens the understanding and appreciation. It may leave us momentarily satisfied with the completion but does nothing to increase our power to observe patterns, make new connections and understand at a deeper level.
We can train ourselves to focus more deeply by using the concept of the Cube and choosing to use our own internal pivoting device. When we refuse to listen to the monkey chatter that dissipates our concentration we become more objective in what we see, hear and do. It’s not easy and takes practice but a good way to start is in your next conversation with someone. As each of you talk count how many times you allow the voices in your mind to get you to think about something other than the conversation and person at hand. You may be totally surprised – shocked even – at the number! Each time you realize that you are allowing your mind to wander stop and make yourself refocus on what is being said. After all, both you and the other person involved is worth the effort.
Have a great few days!