A One-Minute Meditation To Renew Focus
Quick question: What’s up with your right pinkie toe? (Audio 🔊)
This morning I woke up, resisted the urge to check my phone, and rolled out my yoga mat. I was three breaths into the routine when the following thoughts breast-stroked into my frontal cortex:
- “Good morning! You forgot to take your laundry out of the dryer. Also you forgot to take your birth control pill.”
- “Hi! Those toes you’re touching — do they belong to you or a triceratops? It’s been so long since your last pedicure that it’s hard to tell.”
- “Hey, your free 14-day trial of HangingSucculentTutorialVideos.com has ended and you will be billed $129.99 per month for eternity.”
Visions of wet clothes, unplanned pregnancy, Jurassic Park, and air plants hijacked my attention. I went through the motions of plank pose, upward dog, and downward dog, but I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. If you had stopped me mid-warrior two to ask what I was thinking about, I would have told you I was calculating interest payments on my student loan debt.
Challenge: We Are Not In Our Own Bodies
I tell this story to illustrate that we are simultaneously always in our bodies and never in our bodies.
We put so many physical functions on autopilot that we eventually leave the cockpit entirely. We head to the airport lounge of our minds, where we drink cheap martinis and mentally script salary discussions.
The paradox is that, when we pay attention to thoughts at the expense of our bodies, those thoughts become more numerous, scattered, and irritating.
We meditate, then, to strengthen our ability to focus on the body. When we strengthen our ability to focus on the body, we strengthen our ability to focus on anything — work, relationships, Sudoku puzzles, you name it. And fortunately, our bodies are easy to pay attention to. They’re ever-present and always doing something interesting. They tingle, grumble, rise, and fall all day long.
Meditation: Trace Your Toes
This one-minute meditation is designed to wake you up to your own focus. I’m going to ask you to think about your feet. You read that right. If you’ll indulge me, however, I think you’ll find it fascinating that you’ve never thought about your feet before. You will experience what it’s like to harness your attention and direct it at will, even if you’re only directing it towards your toes.
Ready? Let’s meditate.
Holy crap, you’ve meditated! What sensations surprised you? What feels differently now? What are you you going to do with your day now that you’ve gathered the reigns of your own attention? I mean, take your clothes out of the dryer, obviously. But after that, your day — and your thoughts — are yours to steer in whatever direction you wish.