Shift Your Focus To Shift Your Experience

My wife and I managed to sneak away for a quick overnight retreat at Harbin Hot Springs last week. As I walked along the path, heading for my Watsu session I stopped on a bridge and looked down into the clear water.

As I watched the hypnotic flow of the ripples on the surface below, a movement in the water caught my attention. A quick shift in my focus and I discovered a school of little fish swimming in and out of the shadows.

After a moment of watching their darting movements, another slight shift in focus brought my attention to the bottom of the stream where a single ray of light coming down through the leaves highlighted one spot on the bottom of the stream.


Shifting focus a bit more, still without moving my eyes, I took in the reflection of the leaves hanging low over the surface of the water.

One more shift and I began exploring the canopy of branches and leaves high up above the stream.

And another shift brought my attention to the reflection of the clear blue sky peaking through the gaps in the leaves above.

I stood there, playing with the different images that a slight change in focus brought into view. It took no effort to shift my attention from the clear blue sky to the leaves to the fish darting in and out of the light and to the very bottom of the stream.

By softening my focus I discovered it was possible to take in the entire picture. By choosing not to focus on any one perception level I was able to “see” them all. It wasn’t quite seeing in the normal sense. They were all there, although none of them were distinct.

I began to grasp the lesson the stream was sharing with me: No matter what you are looking at, a different perspective is always just slight shift in focus away.

If you find yourself focusing on some negative aspect of your life, or the negativity of someone in your life, a different perspective is always available with a slight shift in focus.

Yes, I’ll admit, it’s easier to stand on a bridge and shift the focus of your vision than it is to shift your focus from a negative thought or experience to something different and hopefully more positive. But the process is the same and really just as simple.

What it requires is choice. You must make the choice to shift your focus. It is so easy to get caught in the illusion that our perception is our reality.

And it’s also far too easy to get pulled down into the seductive, even hypnotic trance of negativity that tries to keep the blinders on our perception and keep other views and other perspectives out of our awareness.

So today, see if you can pay attention to what you are focusing on. And try exploring the fluid nature of your perception. Practice shifting your perception, physically, mentally and emotionally in order to see what new images, insights and opportunities come into your awareness and into your life.

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      8 Responses to “Shift Your Focus To Shift Your Experience”

      1. Aaron M. Potts on August 9th, 2007 11:29 am


        This is an awesome post. I almost felt like I was standing there with you watching the different points of view as they changed in the water.

        I was recently reading some of Nneka’s posts about meditation over at the Balanced Life Center, and as such have been giving a lot of thought to concepts of mental focus.

        You are right on the money about how our focus can be changed with minimal effort. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity of life and to focus on that “by default” which is why an example such as the one you gave about conscious focusing is so powerful.

        Awesome stuff, Ed!

      2. Nneka | Spirituality Blog on August 9th, 2007 12:36 pm

        Hi Ed and Aaron 🙂

        Ed, that was a beautiful post. So easy to alter reality by changing perspective. I’m reminded of the Sesame Street song, “That’s about the size, where you put your eyes, that’s about the size of it.”

        In Spirit,

      3. Edward Mills on August 9th, 2007 8:35 pm

        Thanks Aaron. This was one of those posts that just flowed out of me, much like that water! So it’s great to hear that you could really get into the experience! When it comes to the negativity, it seems as if we’ve been trained to accept and embrace it. So those small shifts of perception can seem quite daunting at first. But after you’ve made the shift a few (hundred!) times, it starts getting easier! 🙂

        Nneka. Thanks! I don’t remember that Sesame Street song, and we haven’t caught it on any of the Sesame Street videos that my daughter has watched. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for it!

      4. Jill Dutton on August 10th, 2007 6:53 am

        What an inspiring blog. I’m so glad I found you.

      5. Edward Mills on August 10th, 2007 2:13 pm

        Hi Jill. Welcome to ET. I’m glad you found it too! Love your blog name — Evolving Woman – and you’ve got some great posts!

      6. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker on August 11th, 2007 7:11 pm

        A small shift in focus can take you from being sucked into negativity of another person to seeing what the lesson is that this person is sharing with you, which isn’t negative at all. Thanks for the great article.

      7. Dianna on August 13th, 2007 7:54 am

        The power of Now. When you focus on the now there is an awareness that comes into being, and you see things anew with a different perspective. I am finding I am not the voice in my head, by being present and listening to it. Notice what is there. When you look at nature without labels and thoughts, a whole new world comes in, peace, joy, and life. All is life and all are connected. What a wonderful article reminding me once again that beauty, abundance and life is there if you look. So take the time to see. Life definately takes on a new refreshing zeal.

      8. jWells@AdvancedLifeSkills on February 15th, 2008 11:44 am

        Nice Post,
        Many people are unaware of the influence their focus has on their direction or their perception. Choosing to change our focus truly is one of the fastest ways to change our view of the world and people around us.

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