Be More Attentive

Being mindful is purely focusing and being attentive to what you are doing or experiencing now. Life is happening continuously around us all the time yet a lot of the time we don’t even notice because we aren’t concentrating or paying attention to it. Yes some of the present moments are pretty boring and it’s easy to drift off into your own memory or imagination but when you actually pay attention, even to the boring moments, there is often something there you haven’t noticed before that is interesting. It could be a sound, a smell or something you haven’t seen before.

EVERYTHING IN LIFE COMES
TO YOU AS A TEACHER.
PAY ATTENTION.
LEARN QUICKLY.
CHEROKEE SAYING

Even if when you are paying attention and you don’t notice anything new, you are mindfully not noticing anything new because you are paying attention. The point is you are here and experiencing real life in the present moment even if it happens to be a boring moment just now.

Studies have shown that drivers on average only take in one out of five road signs when driving on the roads. We all know what it’s like to get to a destination and not be able to really remember the journey we took in any real detail. This is especially the case for journeys we make regularly like the school run or to and from work. This is because we aren’t really paying attention, we have other things going on inside our minds. Think about how much of your life you are missing if you are missing that many road signs!

Example: Just ask yourself “what am I paying attention to right now?”. This involves taking a step back mentally and observing your own mind in action, you can then watch as your attention moves to something else. You will also notice a mental commentary going on inside your head too. Something like, “I’m focusing on this article” and “now I’m focusing on something I just heard and wondering the hell it was”. You are observing and paying attention to your own thoughts as well as paying attention to something else – cool don’t you think?

You can take this a step further and start turning your attention to why your mind’s attention is on that sound you heard instead of fully attentive to the words in this article. Once you start to pay attention you’ll notice there is a lot more going on in your present life than you first realised.

And while you were paying attention to that little example your brain had a little rest from the usual background chatter too.

John Burley

John Burley lives in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and is the author of Mindfulness for the Mindless due for publication on 2nd April 2018. He is also the director of a software development company producing software solutions to mainly the gaming industry. He blogs about mindfulness at www.amindfulway.blog which has a growing following both on the blog itself, the accompanying Android app and on social media too.

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