On Focus, Wisdom and Compassion
“Wisdom, compassion and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.”— Confucius
Let’s talk a little bit about the two remaining aspects of Santa Power tonight; namely, focus and wisdom or insight. Once a person has fully mastered mindfulness (as in the prior discussion relating to the pinecone), the next step is exercising focus or concentration. This is important because to understand anything in this lifetime, whether one seeks to understand something about oneself or another, a person needs to focus and concentrate on the issue at hand. It is this ability to focus and concentrate on a situation or an object that leads to the insight or wisdom that we need to live fully in our present lives. Let’s discuss two examples of this below.
In the first example, a person sits down to have a latte. While drinking the latte, the person is 100% present and focused on the latte. The person smells the aroma, enjoys the warmth of the latte as they sip it slowly and takes in the feeling of security and safety in the present moment. In other words, the person fully appreciates that latte and fully appreciates the actions that have gone into making the latte for him to enjoy.
In the second example, a person who goes to work every Saturday at noon and walks by a street corner sees a homeless person each week. What if the person not only acknowledges that homeless person but invites him to have lunch with him and gets to know him by concentrating on the conversation and listening to what is told to him? Over time that person will get to know the homeless person as someone other than “just another down and out” individual. The concentrated effort and focus may just lead to the insight that is needed for one person to actually help another in some way other than just handing a few dollars to that homeless person.
Why don’t we always do this–why can’t we always appreciate the homeless person that we run into? Are we afraid of the homeless person? Do we think that the homeless person is crazy or somehow “deserves” to be living on the street? How can we fully appreciate this homeless person like we can fully appreciate the latte? May I suggest that it is very simply an exercise of compassion and courage that is needed at this point once one stops to concentrate on and gain insight into the homeless person’s life. This is what Confucius was talking about in the famous quote above. It takes a compassionate person (compassion developed through focus and insight after exercising mindfulness) who can summon the courage to then extend himself or herself to others.
I can honestly say that this is perhaps the most singularly difficult thing to master–this combination of abilities–I am still working on practicing this on a daily and almost hourly basis. I still do not get it quite right all the time. However I do know this for a fact–when I do “get it right” on occasion, miracles occur sometimes so quickly that my head spins when I realize what has happened. That is what makes me keep trying to perfect it so that I can “get it right” more often.
So tomorrow, as you go about your day, think about focusing on your loved ones and on the way that you treat both them and the others that you come into contact with during the day. Think about the insight you can gain by truly focusing on them and learning how to appreciate them in the present moment. Summon compassion and courage if you need to so that you can live fully in the present without the need to look either backward or forward. The past can’t be changed and the future will take care of itself. And you will be using your fully developed Santa Power to experience the grace and beauty of each day fully and reverently. And for that you will enjoy all the benefits that can come to you on this earth in return for exercising what is essentially the spirit of Christmas in your daily life!
May you be successful in all your endeavors!