Attention in the Now

I swam a couple of lengths this morning and realised that I hadn’t noticed much at all consciously about what I was doing. My attention had been given to my thoughts and not the swimming. My mind had wandered off to thinking about the day ahead, lots of fast little thoughts one after the next. Who I was to meet, what I would say, what time I would do this and that. A little character analyses of this person and that person, on and on, and it all happens very quickly.

Nothing wrong with that of course. However, much of it is totally unnecessary AND more importantly I miss out on life as it is actually happening. I might as well not have been there for those two lengths. I wasn’t really there, I was elsewhere. So I gently brought my attention back to the present using my body and senses. What can I feel physically right now? Feeling my breath go in and out. Looking at the patterns on the water. Hearing the sounds of the water.

I know I have mentioned this all before, but this is what the process of retraining is like for me. Over and over bringing the wandering mind back into the present though the senses. This quality of attention is so precious. What we give our attention to determines our quality of life.

I am thinking of attention more and more as a precious commodity. With so many things vying for our attention every day it is important to take control of what we lend our attention to. I have been more discriminating in recent years about where I take my attention. I am more particular about the people I give attention to and spend time with, for example.

I notice that most conversations do not deal with the actual present, they are about experiences we have had in the past and what we felt about them, or about opinions and beliefs and why we have them, or gossip about someone. I think this is why I spend more time alone now, its seems to be the only way to have the option open of keeping my attention in the present. This is the next big experiment, to bring some conversations back to the present, if that is even possible. What would that look like? Talking about what we feel this moment? Yes I have these conversations and there is an intimacy about them, an authenticity.

I am thinking of moving my blogging back over to blogger. I don’t know why but I have not really settled in here at wordpress. So at the moment I am posting to both to feel it out a bit.


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