So much of my thinking lately have been focused on becoming one. I recognize that becoming one is a state of mind, not a destination, so it has more to do with training my thoughts than attaining a goal. Yesterday while in a training session with my brilliantly talented yogi, Gourav, he said something to me that has consumed my thoughts ever since, something that made me rethink my approach to everything, especially becoming one.
When he was correcting me on a pose, he said “you are focusing, but not concentrating, these are different… if you just focus, you can lose your balance too easily, you must concentrate”. Truth be told I thought focus and concentration were synonyms, I have always used these words interchangeably. He further explained that focus is much more primitive, and that even the most minor shift can disrupt focus, while concentration is more about consciousness. When I applied this distinction to my pose it worked! Instead of trying to sustain my focus on holding my balance, I concentrated on exactly what I wanted from each muscle, engaging each of them mindfully. This micro shift in my mindset completely changed how I experienced this pose.
I immediately wanted to rethink what I had just learned through the lens of everything else I am focused on in my life… it’s one thing to focus on what matters, but focus can so easily get lost in the day to day of all that comes our way. I wanted to know if I was I concentrating on the right things to effectively channel my focus towards my intentions. A simple analogy to further illustrate the distinction between focus and concentration would be active listening. You can be focused on a conversation you are having with someone, listening to their words, but your mind can easily wonder into what you want to say next versus really hearing what they are saying, that takes concentration and the end result is very different.
This distinction makes me think about something we see commonly in business. Goals are set, everyone is “focused” on the goals, but the day to day distractions that occur distract us and inadvertently we end up channeling energy to things that are not aligned with our intended goals. It takes high levels of concentration and strong discipline of our thoughts and actions to harmonize our focus and concentration.
My takeaway is that focus is good for creating awareness of our intent but to harness results we need to sustain consciousness through concentration. I think making this distinction a part of how we think will bring our self awareness to a whole new level.