Narrow-Focus Concentration and Open-Focus Awareness | Nutrition Fit



To function in life, our minds must be able to concentrate. Through schooling, we were trained to focus our minds because without the ability to concentrate they will not be able to cope with life.

Concentration enables us to narrow and focus our attention on a specific object or task. Without the ability to concentrate, we would be unable to perform even the simplest of everyday functions. We could even be overwhelmed by too much information.

Walking down the street and crossing the road could be disastrous without the ability to concentrate. Concentration makes it possible to direct our attention towards defining and achieving our goals and is thus a vital function of the utilitarian mind – the goal-oriented, problem-solving aspect of our mind.

This narrowing of attention is necessary for survival, but the utilitarian mind is not the whole picture. When we narrow our focus of attention to become unconscious of so many other parts of our present moment experience. With a narrow focus of attention, we use only a small part of the mind’s potential.

Concentration, the narrowing of mind, is therefore a means for survival and achieving goals, but not for relaxed quality of life.

Walking along the beach, for example, becomes much more enjoyable when we are open to smelling the sea air, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the sounds of the seagulls and feeling the soft sand beneath feet. A concentrated mind with a narrow focus of attention would miss out on most of the delight.

Expansive experiences of open awareness bring welcome relief from the narrow focus of the utilitarian mind. Being stuck in the utilitarian mind can lead to a flat, two-dimensional, excessively logical and functional existence. Even simple expansive experience like walking along the beach with an open awareness are healing and restorative; they relax the mind and nourish the heart and soul.

Over use of utilitarian mind create a chronic narrowing of awareness which detracts from the joy of life, reduces performance and limits our capacity to release stress and to heal. When we remain in narrow-focused attention, constant thinking plays an exaggerated and dominating role in our mind. We miss out on the rich and rewarding experiences that are filled with sensual and emotional textures.

The narrow focus of compassion and empathy; distance us from others and from feeling from nature. We get stuck in our head. This is one reason why so many people in our contemporary world, despite advances in transport and communication, feel isolated and anxious.

Being too goal-oriented and focus goes hand in hand with being busy, driven and worried. We can lose the ability to be more open and more present, and to have freedom and space in our minds and our lives. Our quality of life is vastly improved by developing flexible attention so that we can move freely and responsively from narrow-focus concentration to open-focus awareness.

Mindfulness meditation can lead us from narrow-focused concentration to open awareness.


Source by Vera Vernice