When my kids were little, every Easter the family would get together to celebrate.
The most anticipated event for the kids was the easter egg hunt. In the words of my now 20 year old son, it was a high stakes egg hunt because there was the potential to walk away with a lot of cash.
My sister in law would stay up all night and put a slip of paper with a dollar amount inside hundreds of plastic eggs, which she would then hide for the kids. The next morning after church, the fifteen cousins would be unleashed into the yard for the "high stakes" egg hunt.
We would have to keep them in a holding area before start time so that no one would have an unfair advantage. When it was time for the egg hunt to begin, someone would yell "GO!" and the kids would swarm the yard like bees on a honeycomb.
When the egg hunt was over, the kids would add up their total and take it to my father in law who would then dole out large sums of cash to the excited little kids.
It was remarkable that my son Ace would almost always end up with the most eggs despite the fact that many of his cousins were older than he was. I used to marvel at the way he would methodically examine the area in search of the lucrative little eggs. His concentration and focus was quite impressive despite his young age and the distraction of fourteen screaming kids running willy nilly around the yard. Each time an exclamation of "I found one" was made, the kids would run en masse to the same area in hopes of finding more money filled eggs there.
Ace, however, continued his search unaffected by the sights and sounds that were going on around him. He often found eggs in places that several kids had already searched but missed. Ace's concentration and focus served him well during those easter egg hunts.
The sixth limb of yoga recommends that we practice "dharana" which is translated as concentration or "one pointed focus".
Yoga Sutra 3.1 says, "concentration is the process of holding the attention of the mind onto one object or place".
Yoga Sutras 3.2 and 3.3 say in a nutshell that doing so quiets the mind giving you access to the deepest part of yourself where your wise and peaceful soul resides.
A one pointed focus is having the ability to concentrate on something while staying unduisturbed by internal and external distractions. Staying attentive to just one thing can be difficult because our minds often run willy nilly like kids at an egg hunt.
Practicing giving your full attention to anything can also be called "mindfulness".
Whether you are focusing with your full attention on your breath, on your child, on your meal, or on your work, this practice can enrich your life and the lives of those around you. Imagine how much better your child or your friend would feel if you put down your cell phone, look them in the eye, and give them your undivided attention as they tell you their story.
The more we practice this one pointed mindfulness, the closer we get to a state of what author and yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater calls "being intensely present to what is".
When we are mindful and present, we will never miss those precious moments that are so often hidden in our day to day lives.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras