It’s Valentine’s Day. A day to honour a patron saint and all that he stands for… love, fertility, productivity. It may seem silly to make a big deal on Valentine’s Day but it is a really great opportunity to tune in… to sense love… and have some fun. Do you get so caught up in your drama that love is lost? Using Valentine’s Day as a catalyst, practice awareness a bit more every day and tune into that loving vibe. Here’s how…
Focused and aware. Unfocused and aware. The practice of being aware that you are aware.
Awareness of awareness… That sounds a bit goofy. To unwind this idea, let’s step back a bit and explore the idea of being focused. In a previous blog, we noted that it’s good to be focused… sometimes. Economically speaking, the ability to maintain focus and productivity, like a robot, is good… for a robot.
Yet it’s important to note, few of us are focused all the time… And it may not even be healthy to focus on one thing all the time. The frustrations of trying to be focused all the time can suck away your energy. So why even try. Isn’t it better to accept the basic human need for variety?
We have at least five senses (touch, sight, sound, taste, smell). These senses are “on” all the time. We can’t turn them off. We can switch our focus from one to another. But, we are sensing things all the time. When we are insecure, our attention flits from one distraction to another. We are constantly analyzing our environment to understand possible threats.
When we are safe, relaxed and intentional, we can relax into awareness. With practice, we can even notice all these senses and all these sensations simultaneously. Lots of good things happen when we are safe, relaxed and aware of all these sensations. We are “in the moment”. We are aware of our awareness. Now, we can add a new healthy layer of awareness… an awareness of kindness, care, gentleness, even compassion. Going a step further, we can sense love. And the more we practice, the more we can love… even when it’s not Valentine’s Day!
But to be able to focus clearly, whenever necessary, one needs to be rested and ready. So, between moments of focus, we must rest the mind. Resting the mind allows the adrenals to rest, hormones can stabilize, stress levels can drop and cortisol can balance.
Here’s a bit more detail and a tip to deepen your understanding of awareness and focus:
Peripheral vision (Rod cells) vs Foveal vision (Cone Cells)
A friend of mine is an Opthamologist. He explained the difference between peripheral vision and foveal vision.
Peripheral vision uses rod cells. When we are in peripheral vision, we see the big picture and we sense shifts in patterns. A break in the pattern can mean a threat or opportunity. As a hunter gatherer we relied on this for survival. Most of the time we are meant to view the world using our peripheral vision, gazing off and resting comfortably. Our sensitivity is balanced and alert. In this way, we can add a layer of loving kindness to our experience.
Foveal vision uses cone cells. We use our foveal vision to analyse a particularly interesting object. When we are in foveal, we are oblivious to possible threats and opportunities. We are vulnerable. This intense concentration is accompanied by heightened excitement, adrenaline, tension and blood flow. A foveal view is narrow and confined. A foveal view consumes energy and is meant to be invoked only occasionally.
Here is an interesting modern day problem…
The size of a computer screen is about the same size as our foveal view. Many of us are on our computers for hours each day. This is exhausting and unsustainable. While in this contrived focused foveal state, we are vulnerable and unaware of our surroundings.
TIP: to bring back balance.
To bring back balance in your day, it’s important to intentionally retreat to a peripheral view in order to gain a greater sense of context, safety and awareness. Step outside and let your eyes drift into a peripheral view. Enjoy a wider panorama. Take in a feeling of vastness, continuity. Acknowledge a feeling of safety. Relax into this awareness. Gently layer in a feeling of love… on Valentine’s Day and on every day!
Hey, this last tip may sound a bit like a hypnotic induction. Hypnosis is a great way to explore and deepen your skills… especially your ability to be aware of awareness. Hypnosis also helps improve your ability to intentionally switch from foveal to peripheral focus. Feel free to contact me for more information about hypnosis and hypnotherapy.