The word focus and concentration is thrown around in many aspects of life.
Work: focusing on a project
Fitness: focusing on proper body alignment and form
Driving a car: putting away the cell phone and concentrating on the road.
Sometimes I hear these words so many times during a day, they lose meaning.
So what is the big deal about focus and concentration? Yes, it helps protect us when we are exercising, it helps protect ourselves and others when we are driving, and it helps prevent us from making mistakes at work. But it is really so much more than that.
Throughout the day, I struggle with what many call “mom brain”. This means I’m doing one thing while my mind is going a mile a minute thinking about everything and anything. And in these moments, I feel exhausted, restless, overwhelmed and as far from peace and joy that one could possibly be.
But if, I stop my mind from going in a thousand different directions, and focus on the task at hand – no matter how big or small – then I feel both my body and mind becoming more at ease. My mind is no longer in conflict with itself trying to figure out what to think about – it is only focusing on one thing, and that is so much more relaxing than trying to think of it all.
Patanjali writes in the Yoga Sutras, that Dharana is the “binding of consciousness to a spot.”
So how do you feel when you are concentrating on one-single thing, whether it’s a task, a moment, a phrase, or a feeling?
Perhaps you feel determined when working on a project for work.
Maybe you feel happy as you cook dinner.
When you focus, you can’t feel guilty about working instead of spending time with your friends or family. You won’t feel frustrated as you cook wondering if your kids will eat the nutritious meal you just spent a lot of energy making. You just work. You just cook.
The practice of dharana sets your mind at ease. It ends the war in your head. It lets you live your life with peace, joy and love.