The Optimal Mind State
Let's begin by defining the optimal mind state and the power it will give you to channel your energy toward your desired outcome. The optimal mind state is a quality of attention that leads to the highest level of concentration. It's a balanced state that's neither rigidly tense nor too relaxed. The optimal mind state is a quality of mind that's under your control. And this means that you have the ability to focus your attention on whatever you choose, and maintain that quality of focus in an undistracted way.
Your ability to focus your attention in this way means that you'll be better equipped to enhance the quality of your life, work, and relationships. Since the quality of your attention is so fundamental to the quality of your life, you could say that your ability or inability to focus your mind provides a fairly accurate measure of how in control or out of control you are of your life.
When you think about an optimal mind state or about optimal states of performance, keep in mind that these are not totally foreign to you. If you think about your past, I'm sure you'll remember some times, and even special moments, that stand out and sparkle in your memory.
Pause for a moment, and reflect back on the near or distant past, scanning through your mind, and find a time or times when you knew what it really felt like to be "in focus."
Can you remember the times in your life when you felt most fully alive and in the flow? The times when your attention was completely captured by the intensity of the moment and that nothing else dared to intrude? Can you remember the times when you just relaxed into the flow, and felt yourself carried and supported, moving effortlessly and easily through some activity? Or a time when everything just clicked into place, effortlessly, and you didn't have to try to get things to work, they just happened? Can you remember what it felt like to be alive at those magic moments in your life?
Special moments are often described as times in your life when you are most in the flow, or in the zone, or at the peak of your performance. It is a deep flowing and an effortless sense of concentration. You have a vivid sense of clarity of your goals and a sense of being on purpose and aligned with what has real value. You even experience a loss of the sense of time, and a lack of self-consciousness. You have a deep sense of connectedness or belonging.
These special moments are the ones we all live for, they are the moments that shine like beacons in our lives. They remind us of what we're really looking for, and what we're really capable of doing and being. So then, what are the strategies for having more of these moments of being present, open, connected, and in the flow of life in such a wonderful way?
The key to having an optimal mind state is being able to have dynamic or fluid concentration. Learning to focus your mind with dynamic concentration will equip you with a wealth of powerful skills and strategies to carry the power of the optimal mind state into every activity of your life.
Learning to live and work in the flow of an optimal mind state means learning how to put your mind to work for you. To accomplish this, you must understand the nature of your mind, and learn how to use and direct the energy and power of your mind more effectively. Though you rely on many wonderful tools and technologies to live your life, ultimately, your mind is your most important and primary tool. With your mind, you envision and design all other tools and direct the way they're used.
The first thing you must learn is how to focus your attention. One of the most effective methods for developing your concentration is with deep breathing. When you inhale, focus your attention within yourself, and as you exhale, imagine that you can direct the focused power of your attention in whatever direction you choose. Breathing in and focusing. Breathing in and directing the focused beam of your awareness wherever you choose. Just remember, you're focusing, and directing, focusing, and radiating.
Once you have developed your deep breathing, then you need to develop the flexibility of your concentration. The best way to do this is by focusing on your hands. Just zoom in and focus on them, notice their position, and feel all the sensations or vibrations in your hands. Then, intentionally shift your attention and focus on some other interesting object in your visual field. Just let go of focusing on your hands, and focus completely on this visual object. And then, shift your attention back to your hands. Keep shifting your attention back and forth and just listen to the flow of sounds around you as you do this. Then shift your attention to observing the flow of thoughts and images in your mind. Don't try to elaborate, just watch the flow for a moment. Finally, shift your attention to the top of your head, and then to your hands, to the taste in your mouth, and back again to your hands.
Practicing these simple exercises on a daily basis will help you to develop a greater flexibility of your attention. You will be to take greater control of where and how you direct your attention. And this will allow you to concentrate in an infinite variety of complex ways and to also perform an infinite array of complex activities. Your flexibility of attention offers you freedom by giving you the power to control the movements of your mind. The greater your mental flexibility is, the greater your power and creativity will be to move your mind through an infinite array of possible moves and functions.
The flexibility of your concentration is directly related to the versatility and adaptability of your nervous system. The more rigid and inflexible your mind is, the more rigid and limited your brain function will be. As you develop greater flexibility of your mind and body, you'll find that your brain is able to handle more and more complex situations, and you'll be able to deal with greater challenges without feeling nearly as much stress. When you become a master of concentration you're really building a mind that is "fit for action."
The quality of your life is directly related to your ability to shift between different ways of thinking, viewing, and working with the creative challenges that life brings you. The flexibility of your attention will allow you to shift your focus from one person to another, or from thinking about one project to thinking about another. As your resilience and versatility of concentration grows, you'll be able to shift mental gears more easily, and move fluidly, from one way of looking or thinking about a situation, to another point of view. For example, you can focus your attention toward someone in a critical manner or in an appreciative way, and you can shift back and forth between multiple styles of thinking about the same situation.
In this complex and fast changing world of today, you're constantly challenged to pay attention to a barrage of continually changing circumstances. Your success in life will depend largely on your ability to interact with all the situations that your are faced with in a creative manner.
Regardless of all the outrageous claims of some of the new, flashy mind technology that's appeared on the market, real and lasting mental development, like muscular development, can be achieved only through practice. You simply can't passively take a pill or plug into a machine that's going to strengthen your mental muscles and build your powers of concentration for you.
However, you'll find that training the mind is in many ways easier than physical training, since you don't need to wait for a special time or place. You don't need to rely on expensive equipment or exotic paraphernalia. You already have everything that you need to improve the quality of your concentration. Just strengthen your personal commitment to continuously learn to improve the quality of your life, and you'll be on your way to a life of happiness, success, and prosperity.
Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. A former ad agency executive and marketing consultant, Joe's work in personal development focuses on helping his clients identify hidden marketable assets that create windfall opportunities and profits, as well as sound personal happiness and peace.
Reach Joe at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more articles and newsletters at: http://www.jlmandassociates.com
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