Focus in a Chaotic World:
What you want to do vs. what you can do
When you pick up any new habit, be it meditation or something that you’re interested in like reading or a new hobby, you will quickly realize that there is an inherent conflict that is built into the nature of how things are. The conflict is between what you want to do and what you can do.
If we had all the time in the world, if we had all the resources or even the basic structure that allowed us to be ourselves even for a few hours every day, then practicing meditation would not be that difficult. Sooner or later, you will discover that there are only a handful of things that you can do that can help you, and there are a million ways to get distracted. It’s so easy to get lost in things that you don’t want to be doing. You simply get sucked into it only to realize later that that is not at all what you wanted to do. There are too many things like that; especially today, especially now.
We are living in an age of information overload. The problem is not finding something and sticking with it. The problem is how do you stay away from distractions? There will always be a conflict between what you want to do and what you can do. Sometimes, it’s just the circumstances: The number of hours you have to work, and the time that is left after you take care of yourself and people around you. Unless you’re willing to make some fundamental changes in your lifestyle it is difficult to accommodate any new habit and stick with it. Focus is as much about in-the-moment concentration as it is about consistency.
It’s not that difficult to pick up a habit and say, “All right, for the next half an hour I’m going to focus. I’m going to dedicate this time for my meditation.” It’s actually not that difficult. You can simply decide and choose to focus. The problem is, how will you continue that over a period time? You can focus for one day, two days, or three days, but things like meditation – or whatever it is – that can truly transform you, have to be consistently practiced over a period of time.
You cannot just do it for a few days and say, “Okay, I’m done with it.” Consistency comes by bringing in couple of factors: One is clearing out that space that is necessary for your growth. This means saying, “No” to people, “No” to certain activities, and distancing yourself from excessive indulgence in social media or watching television, or whatever it might be. First, you’ve got to create that space.