Monday, March 31, 2008

Where is Your Attention?

One of the methods I use to work on my attention skills is a beeping watch with a countdown timer. I'll set the watch to go off every 47 minutes. When I hear it beeping I try to notice where my attention is. Am I in the present moment? Or am I daydreaming and thinking about a mistake made in the past or worried about something that hasn't actually happened yet? Am I focused on the world around me or caught up in my feelings? Am I aware of how other people and objects are supporting my life and work, or thinking about why my life is so hard and wondering why people aren't meeting my expectations?

In Japanese Psychology we have a maxim,

"YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LIFE ISN'T BASED ON YOUR LIFE, IT'S BASED ON WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO."

When I first started doing this exercise I was amazed at how often my attention was in the "wrong" places. And I realized that where my attention was focused determined what my experience was.