Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Open Focus Brain

Yesterday, I finished reading a book my dad sent me for my birthday called The Open Focus Brain by Les Fehmi. The author is the director of the Princeton Biofeedback Centre. Some of his ideas are pretty intriguing (and pretty "out there"), so I thought I'd write out this little excerpt to share it with you, since you seem to like food for thought:

""Nothing" is not merely nothing. Nothing, in fact, is a great and robust healer and is critical to the health and well-being of our nervous system. Space is unique among the contents of attention because space, silence, and timelessness cannot be concentrated on or grasped as a separate experience. It slips through, permeates your attention, through all your senses. Seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling, and thinking of space, basking in it -- while simultaneously experiencing timelessness -- is a powerful way to let go, the most powerful way that I know."

Here are some examples of the exercises he gives in the book:

"Can you imagine the distance or space between your eyes?"

"Is it possible for you to imagine the space inside your nose as you inhale and exhale naturally?"

"Can you imagine the space inside your ears?"

"Gently do a mental inventory of the perceptions of all your senses. Attend, for example, to your sense of hearing. Be aware of sounds while equally and simultaneously attending to the silence between the sounds, out of which the sounds arise. Notice the direction that sounds travel toward you through three-dimensional space."

"Can you imagine the free flow of thought in the space in which it occurs, while feeling body presence and emotions and the space in which they occur as background for thinking?"

"Can you imagine where in silence do the internal voices arise from? Where the visual images are located? Is it possible for you to imagine centering your awareness on the free flow of your thoughts and at the same time experience the physical space from which your thoughts issue, attending equally and simultaneously to the thoughts and to the spatial location from which thoughts emerge?"

Dr. Fehmi's book is all about changing the way you pay attention in order to change your mindset, so that you're not continually in what he calls a "narrow objective" attention, a tense, constricted, survival mode of attention that holds us in a state of chronic stress and leads to anxiety, depression, and attentional disorders. His ideas and his exercises challenge the reader to be conscious of how you're paying attention so that you can catch yourself in this "narrow objective" attention and expand it to encompass more of the world. It's interesting food for thought.

No comments: