What a lion taught me about focus.
My mind has always been a crazy place. Meditation was a wonderful concept, but keeping my mind focused was torture. I don’t know how many times I heard, “If a thought comes into your head, just observe it like a cloud in the sky.” Well, that’s fine and dandy, but now all I can think about are clouds. Which leads to wondering about the weather. Which leads to wondering what I should wear tomorrow. On and on it goes. It’s a very slippery slope.
I just couldn’t get my mind to settle down. I wanted that kind of focus that people talked about and praised for being the key to finding inner peace in a world of chaos. I mean, whose life isn’t a little chaotic from time to time?
Well, I had committed myself to making meditation a part of my days so I wasn’t about to give up. But as I was listening to my meditation app, I was introduced to a new way of thinking about my focus that I hadn’t heard before.
Enter: The Lion’s Mind
Here’s the concept. Think of yourself holding a bone. If you wave it around in front of a dog, that dog will continue to watch the bone wherever you move it. And if you throw the bone, you know the dog is going to go chasing after it. All the dog can focus on is the bone.
The same with your mind. How many times do you get distracted so easily? You lose track of everything else because all you can think about is the bone (a.k.a. the distractions that so easily pop up).
Now let’s say you do the same thing with a lion. If you wave a bone in front of a lion, it might look at the bone for a second, but it will keep its eyes on you. Even if you throw the bone, it might glance at it, but its gaze comes right back to the most important thing to be focusing on, the whole bag of bones standing in front of it. That focus the lion takes is the kind of focus we should have during our quiet times and take with us into the rest of the day.
I don’t know about you, but that idea stuck with me. I definitely feel like the dog in the story most days, but I long to be the lion. Now as I meditate or try to gather my focus, I imagine staring into the eyes of a lion. It doesn’t flinch, so I don’t flinch. Since my life depends on not looking away, I have to give it all my attention.
What type of mind do you have?
Take time to think about this idea of having a lion’s mind. Ask yourself what kind of mind do you have throughout the day? Are you more like the dog, easily distracted? Are you like a monkey, your mind chatters away with a million thoughts? Or are you like the lion, focused on the task in front of you?
Everything that you do deserves your full attention. Yet, it’s easy to forget that. Taking time to develop your focus can help you in so many ways: your work, your relationships, your weight loss goals. We could all use a little more focus on the things that truly need it, but it’s hard to do that when are minds aren’t up to the challenge.
So take time to think about your inner lion. What distractions do you need to recognize in order to make your mind more like a lion’s mind?
Meditation can be a valuable asset to your life. Choosing to push through the hard stuff, like overcoming the inner chatter, can seem daunting at first. But don’t give up! You will be pleasantly surprised to find the inner peace and tranquility you always hoped for was there the whole time.
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