A Grounding Practice to Focus Your Busy Mind

Meditation is often done eyes closed. Soft-gaze meditation can broaden our visual field and encourage an open, receptive quality of attention.

We’re going to be exploring today a series of different ways to cultivate mindful attention. It’s a particularly helpful practice when the mind is busy, when we’re finding it hard to be present, when we’re triggered by something, or when it’s just really hard to settle. Of course, this might sound like any day of the week. But there are times in particular when we’re so busy thinking, planning, worrying, stressing that it’s really hard to focus on the breath or the body, or whatever particular meditation object we’re using. 

Attending to Attention

This practice is a really useful technique or tool that supports the attention that is grounded in our physical sensory experience. So I’m going to instruct you to move your attention from being aware of seeing, to hearing, to sensing your body. 

And when I say, “be mindful of seeing,” that means I’m going to invite you to lower your gaze, like I’m doing right now, and sit with a soft, focused attention: relaxed eyes, soft gaze, and just being aware of the visual stimuli—color, light, form, shape. You’re not looking at any particular thing or observing or studying anything closely, just being aware of receiving the…

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About the author

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is a Dharma teacher at Spirit Rock and has taught Insight Meditation retreats since 1997 worldwide. Mark is passionate about integrating meditation and nature and leads wilderness retreats through his organization Awake in the Wild and runs annual Nature Meditation teacher trainings. Cofounder of the Mindfulness Training Institute, Mark coeads year-long mindfulness teacher trainings in Europe and the US. He is author of Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery and Make Peace With Your Mind and his recent book From Suffering to Peace. He lives in Sausalito, Marin and likes nothing more than hiking, biking, and kayaking in the outdoors.