No, it's a great question, actually. What does "focusing outward" mean? I don't think it's ever been talked about in depth. I don't know what the experts say it means, but to me, it means becoming engrossed in a subject, activity, action, process, exchange, job, or task.I know this has probably been posted before, and in various replies, but i thought maybe a post with this in it could be helpful. I wonder if those of you who have recovered could offer some tips and helpful hints for focusing outward. I realize that a lot of this has to come from the individual, but if little things make a difference, like looking at something and saying "that's a green lamp, and there are flowers on it," I'm sure it would be helpful to myself and others. However, if this is a bad, or useless, idea, that's cool as well, just let me know.
For us, that should easy, right? Focusing like a laser is easy, no? We do it all the time. Trouble is, we are focusing on what won't help us feel better. We need to just redirect the focus and retain its existing intensity.
But we need to direct our exquisite ability to focus onto something that is outside ourselves: creating music, reading a novel, building a table, reading a nonfiction book, watching birds, performing some detective work such as tracking down the origin of a place name or street name in our vicinity (or one we've always wondered about), reading a short story, cleaning the garage, painting the back steps, or outlining the Great American Novel. Maybe even planning to participate this November (2005) in NaNoWriMo (see http://www.nanowrimo.org/), or doing research on a subject we might like to write an article about or just understand better. I have left out visiting friends, because often that activity will bring the focus back to us, and for the nonce, we're talking about focusing outward. You could visit a nursing home, volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter, or other organization that serves people who need a little bit of assistance.
That's applying our laser-like focus to something that is not us.
To me, that's focusing outward.