Open Focus and Open Focus Training via the Open Focus Exercises is a practical and effective method for reducing stress-related symptoms and enhancing well-being, using principles developed in the field of biofeedback.”
I (Rex) say that Open Focus–allowing for both similarities and differences–fits broadly under the umbrella of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation. I am not sure if the developer, Dr. Les Fehmi, would agree with that or not, but without it, the stock explanation is not very satisfying to someone completely new to Open Focus, and one is hard-pressed to find a useful explanation of exactly what it is. “Paying attention to how you pay attention” doesn’t mean much until you have practiced long enough to appreciate it.
So, as to cut through the fog, Open Focus is a “meditation” or something very much like a meditation that you sit and do in a quiet place for thirty minutes, ideally twice each day. You listen to recorded questions asking you to imagine various “objects,” usually related to space, spaces, volume, distance and area. There is a progression through 18 recordings from simple to more advanced exercises. Finally, like mindfulness meditation, the larger objective of Open Focus is a transfer of the experiences-lessons gained from formal practice into your daily life.
The developer, Dr. Les Fehmi, a pioneer in the biofeedback field, has spent more than 40 years showing people how to switch from a “narrow” focus—a tense and stressful mode—to an “open” one in which the senses are fully engaged. This wide-open state has powerful effects on both your mind and your body. The (physical) CDs and MP3 downloads contain guided exercises to help you put the theory into practice.
From the Open Focus website:
Open Focus practice helps to develop attentional skills, the most basic behavior in which we engage. Open Focus attention training encourages awareness of how you attend to the wide array of sensory experiences-and the space between those experiences. Learning to foster attention that is nonexclusive and nonjudgmental supports in integrating your experiences with openness and flexibility.
These techniques will help you relieve stress, manage physical pain, regulate emotions, and set the stage for peak performance and transcendent moments. Practiced regularly, they can bring about dramatic changes in your life.”
That still may not be very illuminating but the good news is that there is no need for a big commitment up front. You may download some sample exercises from the Open Focus website for free. You may also download individual recordings for less than $10, and the individual price drops when you order several in the series. In any case, this is not a costly proposition. Most of the basic texts come with a CD containing several exercises. You can download these as MP3 even if you buy the books on kindle.