Best of the Archives: How to Focus | Shaila Catherine

Ten Percent Happier
April 20, 2022
Best of the Archives: How to Focus | Shaila Catherine
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

Many of us find our minds flitting all over the place, in meditation and elsewhere. So today, we’re going to learn practical techniques for boosting concentration on and off the cushion. This is the second episode in a two-part series on focus we are airing this week.

My guest today is an Olympic-level concentrator. And she has tons of tips for staying focused. We also talk, once we get past the tips for us newbie or mid-level meditators, we also talk about one of my favorite exotic meditation subjects: The altered states of consciousness called the jhanas, that are apparently available to advanced meditators who can attain super deep states of concentration. I say, apparently because I clearly have never been in one of these altered states, but I'm fascinated by the subject.

Shaila Catherine is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation group in Silicon Valley. She has been practicing meditation since 1980 and has more than nine years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She’s the author of Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity.

In this conversation, we talk about:

  • The basic building blocks of concentration in a meditation practice
  • Cultivating the right attitude for meditation
  • The difference between concentration and mindfulness
  • Whether ‘jhana’ states are attainable for regular people

Where to find Shaila Catherine online: 


Insight Meditation South Bay 

Teachings at Bodhi Courses

Books Mentioned: