ou know what focus is, you have it on your camera. It allows an image to become clear in the lens.Your mind is exactly the same; it can only focus on one thing at a time. You may have lots of thingsgoing on, but in the moment, it is just one thing that comes into clarity. One thing that shines in themind above all others.
What I want to discuss with you here is not the event of focus, but what we focus on. For every action inthe world there has to be some focus before the action. Whether it be hateful, loving, violent, destructive, or creative. Focus is like a laser beam, it brings one thing into the spotlight.In other chapters we have discussed compassion, love, and empathy, three words which I think underpinwhat it is to be truly human. Three words that allow us to enter into the feelings of others (human or animal),have a deep awareness of the suffering of others, and show a positive regard for others. When we focus onthese things, we turn our mind into a force for positivity that affects the whole world. On the other hand,focus can be used to hurt, kill, control, and dominate animals, enslave humans, cheat, and develop greed.In simple terms, focus can be used as a positive or negative force, and the results of this can be seen permeating throughout the globe. In some areas you can see terror and murder, and in others, people trying tohelp others live a better life through better water, more plentiful food, and education. So what makes us focuson the destructive things? Is it because we were brought up in a violent family and weren’t shown any love?Or brought up in a family that concentrated on success and the acquisition of wealth?There could be many reasons, some of which inevitably have been brought with you as baggage fromyour childhood, but to me, the lack of clarity which makes us focus on the negative things is merely a lack of awareness. Awareness of self in action, Awareness of others. Awareness of the effect we have on others.When we become more aware, our focus starts to shift automatically, leading to the deep understanding of the three words.All too often our focus wanders back to the self. Self-interest, self-indulgence, self-pity. So how do we getthis focus? Do we really want it anyway? Isn’t our life good enough without it?“Who are you to tell me what to focus on?”And of course you don’t have to focus on love, compassion, and empathy; who am I to tell you to do sucha thing! You are an individual, free to make your own choices in life. It’s entirely up to you what you do. If you want to focus on making as much money as you possibly can, or exploiting others, then that is what youshould do. If you want to focus on terrorising and killing people, then that is what you should do. If you wantto focus on stealing from people then that is what you should do. But remember it is now your personalchoice to do so. You are not being forced to behave in this way.You may have had a terrible upbringing which has contributed to who you are today. But now you must be prepared to take the responsibility for your actions. You are the one who is focussing on these things. Noone is to blame. It is your responsibility to accept it.Remember, you and I belong to the most intelligent species on the planet, and you are free in your mindto focus, and therefore act, on any activity you desire, whether it is of negative or positive consequence to therest of us. I just ask that you are aware you are making this choice of your own volition.
If you can only focus on one thing at a time...Why not make it a positive thing?
With that out of the way, maybe we can move on to look at the positive aspects of focus (sorry to keeprepeating the word). What benefits can come about by focussing on love, compassion, and empathy? Wellthere’s no better place to start than the self!Self-love may seem like vanity, and maybe just a little narcissistic for you, but if you can’t love yourself,how can you start to love others? I am not talking about being conceited or admiring yourself in the mirror every day, this is about acceptance of self – acceptance that you are a wonderful human being, whatever you believe your faults are, and that you are capable of being loving towards every other human being on the planet. True acceptance of this is the start.It doesn’t matter if you have been a murderer, warmonger, drug dealer, criminal, liar, or con man. You arenot everything you have done. You may have created negative effects for people in the past, but whilst air still flows into your lungs, and your heart still beats in your chest, you can refocus on the positive, and turnthe spotlight on love – love of yourself.From this love of self, emanates a radiant glow around you, no longer are you trapped in a prison of