The Essential Energies: Focus

A topic that’s come up in class recently is focus — particularly, where one should be looking while doing a movement.  The basic idea is that you look where you want the energy of your motion to go.

In the context of fighting, it’s probably a good idea to keep your eyes on  your opponent, and you probably want the energy of your movement to somehow connect with your opponent, so there’s this sensible parallel of eyes and energy.  It’s more than that, though.  Wherever the eyes are focused, energy automatically goes.  If you want your movement to be unified, your eyes need to be part of the equation.

This is a taiji idea that, so far, I’m pretty terrible at.  I have very little intentional focus; I spend so much time wondering if my body is moving correctly that I have little attention left to give my eyes.  I’m sure I’ve developed habits regarding where my eyeballs are pointed at different points in my forms, but not intentional habits intended to fit my body’s motion.

It’s bigger than that, even.  Focus matters through all of life.  It matters where you point your eyes, and it matters what you put in front of your eyes.  Wherever your focus is, energy goes.  Whatever you allow to enter your gaze affects your energy.

What do I focus on from day to day?  Goodness knows.  I have little continuity in my daily obsessions.

What do I put in front of my eyes?  I look around me, and what do I see?  Dust.  Clutter.  Unfinished projects, unpursued intentions.  Things I’ve been meaning to get to for months, even years.  What do I see, looking around my home?  What am I teaching myself about who I am, what I want, what I’m capable of and what I deserve?

Focus matters.  What you point your eyes at matters; what you allow to be in front of your eyes matters.  What are you looking at today?  Is it something good for you, something that makes you better?

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