74 minutes | May 19, 2021

#348: How to Focus | Shaila Catherine

Living as we do in an era that has been called the info blitzkrieg, staying focused can be extremely difficult for many of us. This can be true when we’re working and trying to stay on task. It can also be true in meditation, when we might find our minds flitting all over the place. My guest today is an Olympic-level concentrator and she has tons of tips for staying focused. We also talk about one of my favorite meditation subjects: the altered states of consciousness called “the jhanas” that are apparently available to advanced meditators who can attain super-deep states of concentration. (I say “apparently” because I clearly have never been in these altered states.)


Shaila Catherine is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation group in Silicon Valley. She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than nine years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She’s the author of Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. In this conversation, we cover: the basic building blocks of concentration in meditation practice; cultivating the “right attitude” for meditation; the difference between concentration and mindfulness and how they support each other; and whether the jhana states are attainable for regular people.



We also want to deeply thank and recognize mental health professionals for everything you do. For a year's FREE access to the app and hundreds of meditations and resources, visit: https://www.tenpercent.com/mentalhealth.


Finally, there's an online event tomorrow you might want to check out. It's called "Well-Being Is a Skill," and it's being led by Dr. Richard Davidson at the New York Insight Meditation Center. More info can be found here: https://www.nyimc.org/event/well-being-is-a-skill/.


Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/shaila-catherine-348

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