“I’ve found that you can come to know the universe not only by resolving its mysteries, but also by immersing yourself in them.” (21)
- Brian Greene The Fabric of the Cosmos (2004)
This afternoon, having gotten off early from work, I went for a walk in a local wood. The days are getting shorter, and I was out on the cusps of eventide. All around me, there were subtle signs of Autumn’s approach: I saw green acorns fallen on the ground and, as I was coming down off the ridge, a single red leaf on the ground. I picked up an acorn and the leaf and brought them home to use as foci in meditation this evening.
Focusing is a crucial part of a mature meditative praxis. It is what gives depth to our meditation and fleshes it out. To focus is to ‘meditate on’ some thing; some object or idea or phrase or quote—it is to allow oneself to dwell ‘with’ the object or idea; to ‘participate’ in it, sensually and intellectually—and thereby to allow its potential meanings to infuse us. Thus it is very important to pick your foci well; it is difficult to undo the intimacy you will accrue as you ‘meditate on’ an object or idea that fascinates you over a period of time.