Jumping from site to site on the Internet, never completing an entire article. Difficulty making progress on or completing projects you’ve started. Tossing and turning at night, your mind obsessed with the problems of the day. A mind constantly buzzing with nagging, trivial thoughts. Do any of these sound familiar to you? At least one of them probably does, since most people today complain of an inability to concentrate well. Kids are having a harder time focusing, too, which means they are missing out on important parts of their education.
Many people report that their ability to focus is getting worse and worse. I think this trend can be turned around by applying one of the fundamental principles of energy—Water Up, Fire Down. According to this principle, we are healthiest in body, mind, and spirit when our heads remain cool and our bellies stay warm.
In previous posts, you’ve seen how this principle can boost your immunity and reignite your sense of motivation in life. Now, you can also use it to create an energetic foundation for your mind, giving you a sense of mental and emotional grounding.
What Is Causing Our Inability to Focus?
Our modern, technological culture is the main reason we are finding it so hard to control our own minds. First of all, we are constantly bombarded by information. We have so many sources of information these days: digital streaming, social media, email, Internet news sources, radio and audiobooks, newspapers and magazines . . . the list goes on and on. In fact, psychologists are starting to realize that our brains are becoming addicted to all this stimulation.
Also, many of us are very sedentary. We sit too long at work, often spending a lot of our time with our eyes glued to the computer screen. Then, we may go home feeling mentally exhausted, and we binge our favorite streaming shows or watch the cable news channels, filling our heads with even more busyness and worry.
Most of us don’t get enough exercise even in our free time, and when we do go out for a jog or hop on the stationary bike, we keep our headphones on or the videos streaming. Maybe our body has gotten a little exercise, but our minds have not been given a chance to quiet down.
What Does Energy Have to Do with It?
While you are probably aware that your mind feels unstable because of our Information Age lifestyle, you may not be aware of how all of this affects your energy system. Basically, it turns everything upside down. As I have explained before, your energy should follow the Water Up, Fire Down pattern. Yet, because our minds are so busy and our bodies are so inactive, many of us are caught in the opposite pattern: fire energy pools in the head, and the lower abdomen becomes cold. Too much information causes this inverted condition because the information—all those TV shows, all the Internet surfing you do, and everything else you worry and obsess about—acts like kindling in your brain.
First, hot energy rises to your head because you are using it so much, and then the constant flow of information stokes that fire, leaving your brain overstimulated and unable to focus. And, because the lower dahnjon (the energy center located in your lower abdomen) is weak from lack of exercise, you have no anchor to stabilize your mind and to bring all that energy back down to the lower abdomen where it belongs.
Simple Energy Exercises to Increase Your Focus
You may have heard that meditation is excellent for building focus and equanimity of mind. I very much agree with that, but I recommend a slightly different form than most—a simple energy meditation. If you are not highly experienced with meditation, or you find your mind drifting easily during meditation, this will probably work better for you than more typical styles because it gives your mind something specific to focus on—the sensation of energy on your palms. Here’s how you do it:
- Choose a meditation posture that feels comfortable, either sitting in a chair or in a traditional half-lotus posture. Whichever posture you choose, do your best to keep your back straight. You can turn on some calming instrumental music, too, if you like.
- Place your hands on your thighs with the palms facing upward. Close your eyes and focus on relaxing your body completely—shoulders, arms, abdomen, your whole body—but keep your back straight. Breathe naturally into the abdomen.
- Now, relax your mind, and center your attention on your palms. You can think, “Palm, palm, palm,” to yourself, focusing your mind on any sensation you feel on your palms. After a while, you will probably feel something—maybe a little heat or a tingling sensation.
- When you begin to feel the energy, slowly bring your palms toward each other, like in the prayer position, but without touching. Focus on the feeling of energy between your hands.
- Spend a few minutes feeling the energy between your hands, pulling them slowly apart to grow the energy, and bringing them together again to shrink it back down.
- After a few minutes. Bring your hands back down to your thighs, and slowly open your eyes.
If you practice this regularly, you’ll find that your mind is naturally calmer and that you can keep your focus more easily. Plus, you will be able to grow your ability to feel energy, which will eventually allow you to sense energy throughout your entire body.
Focus Is the Energy of Creation
If you are having a hard time focusing, I hope you will start using the Water Up, Fire Down principle to reestablish a proper energetic foundation for yourself. Focus is very important because it is a necessary part of making your goals and visions come into reality. Our world needs you to become your best self, and a focused, centered mind is an important part of that.
You can learn more about this fundamental energy principle in my book, Water Up Fire Down: An Energy Principle for Creating Calmness, Clarity, and a Lifetime of Health.
- Ilchi Lee’s 3 Exercises for Better Memory and Focus
- [Video] Ilchi Lee’s Fingertip Meditation for Focus
- The Focus of Creation
- Energy Body Basics: The Key to Good Energetic Hygiene
- [Video] Why I Wrote the Book, Water Up Fire Down