Being able to exercise focused attention simply means being able to direct your attention, becoming aware if your mind has wandered, and then being able to redirect your focus.
1) Sit in a way that is alert yet relaxed. Close your eyes if you’d like or direct your gaze downward, gently softening the visual field. Establish yourself in a comfortable seated position. Notice your body, your feet on the ground, the sensations of your body sitting, your legs and torso as they make contact with your seat or the ground. Also notice your posture. See if you might sit in a way that’s upright but not rigid, relaxing into your body and breathing normally.
2) Begin now to notice your breath. Directing your attention to the experience of breathing, the sensations of the in-breath and the sensations of the out-breath. Noticing the air coming in and out of your body. Firmly but gently directing your full undivided attention to this experience of breathing whatever that means to you. Noticing the air coming in your body and the air coming out. Paying attention to this full cycle of breathing.
3) If you’ve noticed your mind has wandered, that’s perfectly natural. The mind may wander away many times and if you’ve noticed your mind has wandered from your breath, take note and then gently but firmly bring your attention back to your breathing. Come back to the experience of in-breaths and the out-breaths, the full cycle of breath. This is the process of focused attention on the breath.
4) Stay with the breath. As we draw this practice of focused attention to a close, I’d like to invite you to take three slightly deeper breaths at your own pace. And then, whenever you’re ready, open your eyes.