Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Smitten with Directing the Attention

I know, I know, I’m a veritable broken record (do we have an image to replace that one now that there’s at least one generation with no knowledge whatsoever of a record?), on the subject of directing the attention. Having facilitated workshops on “What You Practice Is What You Have” for the past year or so (not to mention “the quality of your life is determined by the focus of your attention” before that), and now working on this follow-up to There’s Nothing Wrong with You, which is also titled “What You Practice Is What You Have,” I find myself utterly besotted (in the best possible sense) with the practice of directing the attention.

There is everything to recommend it and nothing against it!

1) It’s practical. When you need to stay attentive to something or someone--at work, in a challenging conversation--you can do it.
2) It’s entertaining. You can make up all sorts of little games for yourself such as turning your attention to particular colors or objects and using them as reminders to turn your attention to the breath, to yourself with a kind word, etc. (Some of you may be recognizing Practice Everywhere about now.)
3) It’s relaxing. With your attention going where you choose rather than habitually to the stressful conversations of conditioned mind, stress and tension no longer have access to you.
4) It’s efficient. When it’s time to meditate formally, you are way ahead of the game by having practiced being present all day long!
5) It’s fun. Life is fun. Conditioned mind and the voices of self-hate are not fun. When you give your attention to life, your fun quotient goes way up.
6) It’s kind. When you are not lost in an unconscious relationship with the negativity of egocentric karmic conditioning, you become a pleasure to be around. You are a gift to the world.
7) It’s simple. Anyone with sufficient capacity and willingness can do it. “Now, I will turn my attention to…” No complex rules, no standards—easy.
8) It brings immediate gratification. Each moment you are HERE/NOW is a moment of wellbeing. Practice directing your attention ten times today and you have ten experiences of wellbeing. Tomorrow twenty, then thirty, then much of your day, then most of your day…
9) It’s a guilt-free pleasure. You can be enjoying this little awareness game all the time and no one will ever know what you’re doing. They will just enjoy you more because you’re more pleasant to be around.

I feel quite confident there are more good reasons for the practice of consciously directing the attention than are occurring to me just now. Perhaps if you know of additional benefits you will send them along? When you send them, I will turn my attention to them, enjoy them, and have the joy of another moment or so of wellbeing. Oh, and I will feel grateful to you for them…another moment of wellbeing! If financial institutions operated this way, we’d all be rich as Midas—but truth be told, I much prefer being rich in the joy of wellbeing.

In gassho,


  1. When I become aware of the mind churning habitual projections, assumptions and beliefs, claiming authority on everything it judges, an inner bell often now chimes: "Isn't that cool, I see the conditioning at work, again..."

    So, the practice of consciously directing attention to this deep rooted tendency frees me to loving compassion for me and all around me.

    And that is one more precious drop of joy....

  2. Other benefits seem to be:
    Bodily safety. It seems I'm less likely to have an "accident", fall or be surprised by oncoming traffic, for example, when my attention is directed on what is going on around me (not lost in thought/delusion/suffering).

    Lessens the odds for the voices to 'get me' over having made "mistakes/errors". When my attention is focused on the task at hand, writing a report for example, it seems I'm less likely to make mistakes that the voices will later use to try and talk me into feeling embarrassed/ashamed/guilty about. -Not that there are any "mistakes". ;-)

    More Restful. I'm able to get to sleep easier when I focus my attention on the breath and being with it, not off in a story that gets me all wound up.

    Easier to be around others. When I put my attention on the fact that I truly love someone/anyone, it seems easier to actually feel the love for them and to accept them as they are. It's such a relief when I don't waste/use my attention on judgment, disappointment...separateness.


  3. I get to be like Dorothy every day-- before practice I wondered everywhere looking for the way home and had no clue it was inside me all along. No matter how daunting the content, the practice of directing my attention along with the willingness to see what arises inside me leads me every day to the fullest most joyful life imaginable. I am home in me.

  4. It's a calming constant, a certainty...

  5. It's expansive! Being present and attentive naturally opens everything up.