The concept of inner focus is all great and well and I'm in awe of those who can do this, but as C_A has stated it takes monumental (I can't spell brobdingnagian) resolve and focus. To my mind you have to be well practiced in your techniques and the requirements of your rituals - or what have you - to be able to do it. Thusly I for one require to equip myself so that each item is that focal part of the procedure, less chance therefore of making a hash up of things. I appreciate that for some there are restrictions that force this to be the case (the younger ones perhaps under parental scrutiny).
Marisol was very clear on the subject for me when I asked the question about my sword shards and I am very greatful to her for putting me right. I certainly wish for all my tools to be made by myself eventually, its more personal to me and has "me" and my own energy instilled in them that way. I shall merely continue with what I can lay hands on until such times as I finally accomplish that goal.
Getting back to Lucifers question, and I think I know where he's going with this; I am given to believe, and I do agree myself, that working with tools and so on in your mind is indeed valid, however The tools in the physical plane are merely the means to focus the energies that come from within. After all its not the tool that casts the will its simply the conduit we use. Furthermore, using the tools may be seen by some as symbolic but if, lets say my sword shards for instance, are marred by previous use, this could interfere with the purity of the ritual being performed.
If I am in error in anything I have said here I welcome correction or discussion