Focus Means Tuning Out

Tuning out
Today, I was at the railway station early in the morning to drop my mom off.

On the trip, and while I walked up the ramp with her luggage, looking out to make sure that she wasn’t caught in the rush of crowds, keen on finding the right platform and getting her aboard on time, I barely noticed anything else around me.

The bustling humanity. The interesting faces. The trivia of daily life on a railway platform. All passed me by while I was intent on what I set out to do.

With mom safely in her seat, I strolled more leisurely back to where I had parked my car – and almost magically found so many fascinating things caught my eye.

An elderly lady, stooped to almost half her height by age, was plodding along with her walking stick, her middle-aged daughter supporting her along. She glanced up at me – and smiled!

A tiny toddler, barely 3 years old, was tagging along beside his mother, animatedly pointing to different things and talking nineteen to the dozen!

A careless driver ran his car over the tail of a sleeping dog, making it squeal in surprise and pain.

Porters rushed by, laden with baggage. Commuters hurried to catch their daily ride to work. Travellers, some tired after a long journey, others fresh and about to begin theirs, added to the vibrant humanity that makes a railway station during rush hour a microcosm of life in a city.

I noticed all of this happening around me – but only when I wasn’t focused on something else.

That’s what learning how to focus really means.


Of course, what is “irrelevant” will differ from person to person – and from time to time.

I did pause to gaze at a little infant swathed in warm blankets, a patch of brightly colored flowers that lit up a dreary concrete pavement, a tender scene of parents taking leave of their son, who was probably going away for work or study.

What do you pause for – even when you’re focused?

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1 Comment
  • dileepa
    Mar 20,2009 at 4:03 am

    Doc. you asked – What do you pause for – even when you’re focused?

    May I answer now – I NEED TO LOOK WITHIN FIRST & THEN AQUIRE & CULVITATE the habit of LOOKING OUT – in it’s sense.

    Agree – What is “irrelevant” will differ from person to person – and from time to time.

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