There are four levels of attentional depth that you can attain. The natural relaxed state of your attention is to automatically react to the strongest internal or external force, signal or stimuli. At that level there is no attentional control and it wanders to and fro from one thing to the next.
Focus backed up by interest happens when you are reading a good book, watching a entertaining movie, or participating in your favorite hobby or sport. This is the state where you can be reading a book and not hear someone calling you to dinner.
This is a temporary involuntary state because when the object of your focus stops being interesting, your focus goes out the window. Your focus may become deep, but there is little or no voluntary control over the state. It is limited to novel things and what you are inherently interested in and enjoy.
Disciplined focus is when you keep your attention on a particular subject even in distracting situations. For example when you are studying a boring subject for school when you want to be doing other things and your roommate is listening to music you don’t like.
You can sustain your focused attention for long periods of time. You can concentrate at will and examine in depth any given topic, even in extremely distracting situations, for extended periods of time, and with les effort. At this level there is a sharp reduction of negative symptoms such as restlessness, impatience, frustration, addictive behaviors, mental drifting and tuning out. At the same time there is a marked increase in self-control, impulse-control, follow through and tolerance levels.
3. One-Pointed – In the Zone
One-pointed focus is when you focus on one signal to the exclusion of everything else. This is the much desired Flow state which sports professionals strive for. The peak experience of being in The Zone where your attention is in the moment, here and now, totally absorbed in what you are doing. Here you are forgetful of the past, and unmindful of the future. Your attention is still, unwavering, steady and solid.
You will become so absorbed in what you do that it will be impossible to distract you if you don’t want it. You can be so absorbed in addressing a task that you won’t hear people near you talking or any noises for that matter because they are not relevant to your immediate task.
Merged focus is the rarest and most profound focus state where you experience a state of complete merging with what you focus on. This is the highest state of self-mastery where you literally become that which you focus on, a complete union and merging with the object of your focus.
Remember in my story in the beginning where my identity was transferred into external objects and things. Well my attentional depth was at level 4 at the time.