The other day I saw a photograph of two swimmers competing in the Olympics. The caption underneath the picture called attention to the fact that one of the swimmers was so focused, his head straight ahead, while the other swimmer’s head was turned in the direction of his competitor rather than toward the “finish line.” The picture and accompanying story made me think about focus and attention in everyday life.
What catches my attention? Or more importantly, what do I allow to hold my attention? On what do I focus and to what does it lead?
The ability to focus is a gift. How do I use it? How do I recognize when I have become too focused, or when my attention has shifted to something of little or lesser importance in a particular situation?
Most often, there are clues when I am drifting (or about to) away rather than toward that which is good, or better, for me. To see or sense them though, is not necessarily easy especially with all the distractions that society offers. What is one to do?
Looking back to the Olympics, with the dedication, discipline and focus required to get there, it is clear that there is something far greater than a bunch of sports being played. It’s as if we are all pulling for each other without necessarily even trying all that hard. There is something that pulls us out of our own world…our own country as we often watch other countries competing and begin cheering them on, too. There is a Spirit that transcends all that is visible. One that propels and lifts both the athletes, enabling them to dig deep down, and the spectators, allowing them to enter the journey.
That same Spirit, creating a sense of unity and providing inner strength, and so much more, is available and waiting to capture our attention. Waiting to lead and guide us whether we are competing in the Olympics, going to school, working a job…doing anything at all…or doing nothing.