Workplace Wellness, Fatigue Prevention, Health Education

Let’s take a look at Attention

Sit quietly for a moment and do the following.Eyes

  • Look at the wall in front of you.
  • While you do that, put your attention on a sound you can here.
  • While doing these, wiggle your toes
  • While continuing all of the above, create a picture of your best friend’s face in your mind.

Were you able to do all of that? Could you add more things?

It is not the purpose of this document to teach you everything you need to know about attention. In fact, you cannot do that by reading, you need practical exercises to explore it and learn about it for yourself.

But as you sit in this present moment, you already have your attention on many things. Contemplate it for a moment. What was your attention on as soon as you woke this morning? Is some of your attention still on that thing?

Most people have little or no control over their attention. A child with ADD or ADHD has no control over their attention (and you would be amazed how much attention exercises help those kids). Have you ever experienced a moment when you are trying to write an important or sensitive email and you are struggling to put all of your attention on the task? Other things keep dragging your attention away.

Have you noticed how, when you drive, you can perform this quite complex task yet still forget what actually occurred over a 20 minute drive from home to a friend’s place. That is attention on automatic.

Have you ever tried to sit and talk with someone and they seemed to be not present? Perhaps you have done it yourself. What is happening here? In such cases, the person’s attention is being directed deep into their mind onto some worry or desire. Perhaps they have forgotten something or are ruminating over a conflict. They have not got enough command over their attention to haul it off whatever it is they are thinking about and direct it out into the world, to the person sitting in front of them.

Walk down the street and contemplate people as they go by. You will soon realise that they are completely lost in their minds. They are walking on automatic, just enough attention out to stop them from tripping or bumping another human.

All of this attention going back into the mind does a couple of things that can be really destructive to a person’s health. First, the thought they are turning over and over in their mind can take on a life of their own and create such intense physical responses that the person may well end up in their GP’s office discussion a possible anxiety disorder or depression diagnosis.

Or their attention becomes so completely consumed by what is happening in their mind that their body now gets little or no attention. Attention is needed to sustain things. How is the picture of your best friend in your mind going? Still there? Most likely not because you stopped directing attention to it. To keep it there, you need to keep feeding it attention. Well, it is not too big a leap to realise our body is the same. Sit for a moment and just direct all your attention down into your body. Completely fill it up with your attention. Notice every aspect of it. Do that for a few minutes…..yes, stop reading now and do it. 😉

How did that feel. Did you notice things you have not noticed before?

A body that is not getting any attention will demand attention. It will do this by creating cravings, ailments, pains or even disease. Most obese people I have met have not given their body any attention for years. They have none to spare.

What has happened? A big part of the problem is that their “will” is totally asleep and without an awakened will, their attention is controlled by circumstances, random events and painful memories. Have you ever tried to get a person with almost no will to start an exercise program, or even to do a 10 minute daily meditation?

So back to the late Mr Ayrton Senna. His Will was so strong that he was able to direct his attention completely out into the world. There is a crossover point where the mind gives up all of its worry, doubt and concern and all available attention can be easefully directed out into the physical universe. It is at this point where things seem to slow down, everything becomes starkly clear and 3 dimensional and flow arises.

MEditationThis is why meditation techniques use a mantra or some other single point of focus. The aim is to use the will to direct the attention to a single point of focus for an extended time. And it works somewhat. And I say somewhat because there is a major challenge.

First, meditation was devised as a technique without any consideration for a 21st century mind. Back then, people’s worries and concerns were limited to simple matters of survival, and they had lots of time available. Stopping to meditate did not feel like it does for a busy person in a modern, fast paced and demanding world.

This is where the 9 day course begins, understanding you attention and your will and learning to awaken your will and place your attention under the control of your will. As you go, you get to explore all of those motivational forces that sabotage the use of your will and drag your attention into other areas, reducing your resources when you need them.

As the course progresses, you use tools that allow you to integrate all of those old things sitting their deep in your consciousness, well beyond the reaches of your mind, that still create a substantial pull on your attention. As the course progresses, more and more of your attention frees up and you begin to flow it more easily out into the world. Once you have adequate control over your attention, and enough free attention to work with, the real work begins and your path to enlightenment, a deep and profound spiritual awakening is close at hand.

What is your attention doing now?