The Open-Focus Brain by Les Fehmi

The Open Focus Brain by Leo Femni

I read this in April 2015. It was first recommended to me by Anton. One of his friend’s made a good video about the technique. It was a breakthrough book for me in learning how to relax. Especially how to relax my eyes. The emphasis on imagining space is something I’ve kept with me since, and probably will keep with me for the rest of my life. I’m still amazed how consistently and immediately it works. Amidst craziness I can bring my attention to space and the craziness just dissolves. The tricky thing is remembering to do it when I need it most.

The book is not long. You could finish it in a day or two. It’s more practical, something to refer back again and again as your practice develops. There are also some good guided recordings you can find online to go with the book. It’s similar to mindfulness, but I think the emphasis on space and how they teach it makes this superior.


The health and wellbeing of our civilisation rests on the health and wellbeing of our central nervous system and it’s offspring, our minds.

Neurofeedback Biofeedback technologies

Like many people I had become habituated to the stress I carried. I didn’t know how bad it was until I began to release it.

How does attention shape awareness? What is the difference between the two?

Most of the problems in the world stem from the same source.

We do not pay attention to how we pay attention and so we think we are seeing the world as it is.

“But many people tell me that even when they stop rushing about, they can’t wind down”

The answer is simply to change the way you pay attention.

I searched out the precise location of the core of pain in my body and gave it my full attention. Then, instead of fighting it, which I had been doing consciously and unconsciously. I surrendered to it. I allowed myself not only to fully feel it but also to bathe in it and completely dive into and accept it. Immediately the pain ceased and a wonderful feeling of lightness took its place. The world around me grew brighter and I felt more present and centred. To my astonishment the pain was gone for a full day.

The trick was to pay attention in a way that put the pain squarely at the centre of attention while I remained relaxed and broadly immersed in it with other senses present in the periphery of awareness.

When we change the way we pay attention, we gain the power to profoundly change the way we relate to our world on every level – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

The issue is not what we attend to . Far more important is how we attend, how we form and direct our awareness and how we adhere – rigidly or flexibly – to a chosen style of attention.

Narrow-Objective Attention

Lions focused in on the injured gazelle.

Delta: 0.5-4 hertz, the slowest, produced during sleep

Theta 4-8 hertz; produced during twilight consciousness, between feeling deeply relaxed or day dreaming and falling asleep

Alpha 8-12 hertz; also produced during relaxed states but those in which we are still alert

Beta13-50 hertz; we carry out most of our tasks in this state, it is divided into three categories:

Low Beta 13-15 hertz; characterised by relaxed but interested attention, like someone taking a test who knows the material.

Mid Beta 16-22 hertz; produced during focused external attention. Dominant use of narrow focus.

High Beta 22 hertz + correlated with tense muscles, anger, anxiety and other intense emotions. E.g. someone taking an important test who does not know the answers. or someone screaming at another driver because he has cut them off.
(However frequencies of around 40 hertz have recently been observed in higher quantities in long-term meditators).

The eye is extremely susceptible to stress.

Most of us use attention to manage our physical and emotional pain. We divert our attention to something else, and so we feel less pain. However at some point the pain and anxiety so so great that diversion tactics no longer work.


Diversionary Tactics are often overused to the point of addiction:
compulsive use of television
video games
loud music


Emotional of past events have a tendency to surface as we relax and drift into sleep. People can’t fall asleep without a loud radio or TV playing – they need music or talk shows or other external stimuli to divert their attention from the feelings or memories that arise in the theta state on the edge of sleep.


Expanding Awareness of Visual Space:

“A Zen student once asked his teacher Ikkyu, a fifteen-century Zen master, to sum up the highest wisdom. The master responded to this enormous question with a single word scratched in the sand, ‘Attention.’ The student wasn’t satisfied and asked him to elaborate. Ikkyu wrote, “Attention. Attention. Attention.”

Synchrony: when the brain’s electrical activity or brain waves are synchronised in one area or more areas of the brain. We can train ourselves to achieve greater control of synchrony.

Synchronous activity is most prominent when brain is in a relaxed but alert state.

The state of alpha waves isn’t magical. It just seems like it because we have forgotten how to enter it.

LC: Look up Dr Joe Kamiya

LC: EEG biofeedback – Meditation + technology combined?

Soldiers have to break cadence when they walk across bridges because they might break it.

Can you imagine the space between your eyes?
Can you imagine the space between your ears?

Objectless Imagery

Multisensory experience, and awareness of space, nothingness or absence

Space silence and timelessness cannot be concentrated on or grasped as a separate experience.

Phase-synchronous alpha state

Imagine space in, around and through their eyes, neck, head, hands and then space extending limitlessly in every direction.

When the mind is asked to imagine or attend to space however, there is nothing – no thing- to grip onto, to objectivity and make sense of. No memories of past events or anticipation of future scenarios. The brain is allowed to take a vacation.

Many high functioning people have the idea that the harder they push, the better they will perform.

Know when to push.
Know when not to.


in the heat of the moment REALISE that your attention has become overly narrow and objective. DIFFUSE it with open focus.

The High Performance Mind author Anna Wise calls alpha waves ‘the bridge to the unconscious’

“Man masters nature not by force but by understanding” -Jacob Bronowski

The human ability to pay attention to how we attend sets us apart from other species.

Attention skills allow us to alter our reality. We are, each of us, the creators of our lives in a very real sense. We can create a far different reality than the one we normally inhabit. We can build a world where we are more accepting and intimate and loving or more exclusive and distant.

Ultimately by learning to use a variety of attention styles, we can free ourselves from the burden of the past and stop fretting about the future. We dont have to depend on others for our happiness or wellbeing. Nor are we subjext to the tyranny of our unpleasant thoughts and feelings. We can discover a sense of freedom unlike any other.

The 3d environments of beaches, mountains, oceans and deserts, and for astronauts space itself may evolve in us such changes in perception. Likewise cathedrals temples museums and other man made structured can have the same effect. However, these geographical and architectural stimuli – as well as peak performance in artistic and athletic endeavours – are the occasion for, not the cause of. Such experiences. With open focus training we learn that access to moments like these is not dependent on the presence of special conditions. Once we learn to shift into open focus, any situation can be the occasion for attentional release into unself consciousness.

Can you imagine a world where we are all living in Open Focus, dissolving our pain anxiety restlessness boredom uncertainty and chronic dissatisfaction? Can you imagine a world where we are free from the tyranny of mental content, dwelling in the spacious context of our awareness? Can you imagine freely giving and receiving love, merging with the world instead of feeling isolated and separate from it, and sensing and experiencing the world also as the wondrous place that it is?

Page 45 – stress

Imagine a world where we are all living in Open Focus, dissolving our pain anxiety restlessness boredom uncertainty and chronic dissatisfaction? Can you imagine a world where we are free from the tyranny of mental content, dwelling in the spacious context of our awareness? Can you imagine freely giving and receiving love, merging with the world instead of feeling isolated and separate from it, and sensing and experiencing the world also as the wondrous place that it is? 45 stress

Page 47 – reread

Page 56 – anxiety lasting state of fearfulness

Page 59 – anxiety surfaces

Page 74 – move towards pain
Cuts, colds, bruises, rolled ankles – move towards n accept the pain dont fight it. Opening to n accepting pain

Concentration on a single point leads to awareness of several different points simultaneously. Eventually you are constantly aware of every thought, bodily sensation, sound, smell, sight and taste – simultaneously moment to moment.

As you start becoming aware of everything that you are experiencing from moment to moment you begin understanding the nature of what you are experience.

You observe that it is fleeting. Everything is fleeting, arising and passing away. Continuously.

The goal was to allow her physiology to quiet to the point that she could feel thre source of anxiety as a physical event.

Page 82 – gut feelings

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