Expanding and narrowing the focus at will


Yesterday we talked about looking through the window of consciousness and that quality of narrowing or expanding the consciousness at will. I feel I have to practice this awareness of what is happening with my consciousness lots more because from yesterday I saw some gaps in awareness.

I notice that stress comes if I am using the quality inappropriately. By that I mean that sometimes I want to process an experience and if I narrow the focus I get some answer and if I expand my perspective I get different answers. The problem is I notice I habitually  narrow the focus in some situations when what I need to use is an expanded focus so it’s only natural that stress comes. Likewise I automatically expand the focus only in some situations so when thinking big doesn’t bring creativity stress comes.

So I’ve decided to stay with the practice of consciously expanding the focus to see how a thought or action may have short-term or long-term effects, or how it would affect the environment. I want to see if I can use the narrowing of the focus in new ways today to pay attention to my inner world and in my interactions with my outer world.

I’d love to read your stories of how you use  this practice.

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5 Responses to Expanding and narrowing the focus at will

  1. Victoria Aarti says:

    Thanks for this post Madhavi. I find it very helpful and timely.

    I am sure it is no coincidence that you have been talking about anger, given that I had a volcanic eruption on Tuesday. I “lost” an opportunity to respond differently but I gained in terms of seeing this most unexpected thing in me. So yes, I am seeing blessings and grace even in unpalatable situations and qualities that I would rather disown. But it is my inner space right?

    Shortly after this meltdown, I had the bright idea that I would explore it in meditation. But mere hours after the event, I soon realised that it was not realistic to expect that I would be able to look “at” this thing, given that I was stuck “in” it. It was not the time for me to try and zoom in. I needed to zoom out, get centered and restabilise before even thinking about zooming in. So yes, your observation about the timing of the zooming is spot on.

    I see how easily and quickly I want to zoom in on details, my tendency to get stuck there and the frustration and limitation that arises as a result. Whilst I accept that there is the proverbial time and place for everything, I can see the potential of expanding my perspective to bring more balance. So instead of focusing on the details as I tend to, I would do well to take a step back and try to appreciate the bigger picture.

    As this applies to Tuesday, sure I do not feel thrilled about my reaction and I know that there will be consequences. But I am trying to look at the bigger picture and the opportunities in all of this. A major bonus is that this approach is helping me to not punish myself for what happened on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, I take full responsibility for my behaviour, but I am not beating myself up and this is certainly a blessing!

    Looking forward to continuing practice!

    Aarti xx

    • Chan Madhavi says:

      Enjoy the adventure Aarti! Thanks for sharing this experience.

    • Marlene says:

      Thanks for sharing your observations about the timing of the zooming in or out, Aarti, and for putting it in the context of your real life situation. It made it clearer for me to have this actual example because I could envision myself being in a similar situation and how it would be more appropriate for me to zoom out.

      In a stressful situation, I also tend to want to zoom in on details and can get stuck there, “spinning my wheels” so to speak, so this is reminding me that I need to zoom out to come back into balance and gain get a broader perspective until I am centred and stable once again.

  2. Marlene says:

    I was listening to one of Guru’s Conversations CDs while out for a walk this morning. I found that I was narrowing my focus inward in order to pay attention to the conversation I was listening to. At the same time, I was also trying to expand my focus to observe my environment in order to enjoy it and appreciate the beauty of it during my walk. So I was able to zoom inwards and zoom outwards alternatively, depending on where I most wanted to concentrate my focus in any given moment.

    At one point while my focus seemed to be narrowed to listen intently, I observed that I felt drawn intuitively to change my planned path…my usual route back home. And I think having contemplated this whole idea of narrowing and expanding the view had something to do with it because I was in a very open expansive area but heading towards a narrower area…a tree-lined street which came into my view. This is not the normal route I would take but it was a viable alternative route that could take me back home eventually. The thought or impression that came to me was “I want to move from this expanded space in nature that I am in into this more narrowed space in nature because I want to go from a space of openness into a space that draws me inside. I felt a curiosity to go into this narrower space. So, I followed my intuition, changed my normal route, and thoroughly enjoyed the new view today!

    • Chan Madhavi says:

      Glad you found a new view Marlene!

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