Focused Practice and Lateral Practice

Today I’m going to distinguish between two types of spiritual practice: focused and lateral. One caveat is that I would like you to contemplate on the word ‘lateral’ and let that intuitively sink in. It might hit you, or it might not — people I’ve talked to experienced a direct shift in their thinking through simply sitting with this word for a minute or two.

Focused spiritual practice is a means by which we meditate on an object, mantra, or breath. This is all well and good…and what we think of typically when we think of meditation. However, what I’ve noticed is that the insights or state achieved during focused spiritual practice simply doesn’t translate well into the day, or transform effectively aspects of our life.

Lateralized spiritual practice is envisioning spirituality as extending through time and space…or in pragmatic terms, through the course of the day and all the events and behaviors within. It involves minimal focus on a specific topic…rather, it’s purpose is to ensure that a comprehensive relationship exists with the various facets of our day. Thus, the process might in many ways seem the very opposite of focused spiritual practice — the purpose is to not get stuck in focus or a focal point.

Ultimately, I do feel it comes down to lateralized practice as the natural evolution of our spirituality. Focused meditation can get couped up into hour long sessions which simply often do not translate into day to day. Ultimately, it comes down to bringing spiritual wisdom to the whole day. That comes from the attitude of lateralizing our meditation, practice, and desires.

Ranjeeth Thunga