ATTENTION EXERCISE

Sit in a comfortable position, and notice what you notice:....

 

See

Notice what you're seeing in front of you. Notice its colour size, clarity, brightness, texture: all the visual details.

Hear

Now, while still looking at what is in front of you, let the sounds in the room - or even the lack of sounds-become the most interesting thing in your world. The sight is still there, but notice the sounds.

Feel

After ten seconds or so of that, allow your attention to shift to how you feel: the sensations of your body. The feeling of your clothes on your skin, the breath moving through your windpipes, your butt against the seat. Go through your body from head to toe and notice all the different feelings there.

Smell and taste

Now notice the smell in the room, and any tastes you may have in your mouth. Notice how different parts of tongue sense different tastes.

Time

Notice your sensation of the passage of time. Itís if you're standing in the river of time; and it's flowing past you. The past is always out there, the future is always out there, but you are always here, completely in the now. This now is the only time that you've ever experienced, the only time there is. The past is gone, and the future doesn't yet exist. It never will, in fact: when its time comes, it'll be the now. Notice your presence in the room now.

Space

Inside your skull are two sensory organs whose job is to detect gravity, and help you orient yourself relative to it. This, literally, is an often-overlooked sixth sense, and is sometimes referred to as the vestibular system. Notice your orientation to the rest of the room, and the empty spaces between you and the things around you. Like fish who donít notice the water they swim in, we usually don't notice the empty spaces all around us. Notice them.

Thinking

Thinking is a mechanical activity of the mammalian brain. It usually runs on autopilot, chattering away like a drunken monkey. Notice how your mind generates thinking. Itís that thinking that pulls you away from experiencing now more often. Interesting, eh? Put your think-ing into a head-sized ball and visualise it in front of you. Look at it listen to it, feel it. Now, put it back in your head.

Self-ness

There is within you (most people visualise it in their heart) a place where your sense of who you really are is located. All your opinions, fears, dreams, ambitions, likes, dislikes, guilts, hopes...all the stuff that makes up you. Move that out from your body for a few moments and notice it, love it, feel compassion for it. Then return it within you.

Now, cycle through them again, or at least the first four. The entire process should only take a few minutes, and you can do it virtually anytime, anywhere. (Because it can tend to be profoundly relaxing, it's probably not a good idea to do this when driving or operating heavy machinery.)


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