Attention, Mindfulness!

Positive Powers of Mindfulness

  1. You take a peek “behind the curtain” of your mind and begin to notice the mechanisms of your mind/brain that control your attention.
  2. You begin to gain the power of choice over those mechanisms, and thus start to have the power to “re-groove” your attention at any moment.
  3. You strengthen the size and quality of your field of “free attention”, which maintains your fluid capacity to respond lovingly and intelligently to any real-time circumstance.
  4. You gain insight into the actual contents of your attention: your true actions, motives, nearly unconscious reasoning and assumptions — and thereby gain self-understanding.
  5. You begin to choose your relationship to experience: curious, open, responsive, intelligent, rather than being ruled by your “hidden script” of pre-practiced unconscious meanings and reactions.

Four Most Common Mindfulness Traps

  1. Dissociation: “mindfulness” can be taken to mean that one should cultivate a certain “spiritual mood” of serene unruffledness. There is a danger that mindfulness can become a kind of dissociative shield against life and feeling. You can recognize it when your friends and coworkers start complaining about your distant, calm demeanor.
  2. Slow response and lack of spontaneity: your practice of mindfulness tilts you toward being “rigged for curiosity”, which is one particular, and fairly slow, mode of attention. It could slow your responses to others, like a computer with a virus. Inside, you might be so committed to an attitude of curiosity and acceptance that you lose your edge in a situation that calls for decisive judgment and swift action. There’s also a danger that you quash any “instant reaction” you notice in yourself as a possible “reaction” rather than “response”. The net effect risks having you appear overly controlled and a bit hazy. Allow yourself to respond naturally to your life and its demands.
  3. Distraction: this mistake is a complement to #2. Your practice of mindfulness might just be like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach. Mindfulness is supposed to increase presence of mind, not impair it. Let yourself lighten up.
  4. Superior air: this one is a complement to #1. Practicing mindfulness, you might be tempted to assume a superior attitude — after all, you are applying a spiritual skill to your life which generates inner peace, while the poor mortals are mired in their stress…if mindfulness is making you snooty and distant, you’re missing the point. Real mindfulness practice, over time, will make most people around you notice you have become a better person, not worse.

The Power of Mindfulness and Conscious Attention

Most of my life, I’ve experienced dizzy spells when standing up suddenly, especially after heavy exercise. I attributed it to a slow blood pressure response (standing up requires increased blood pressure to the head). But a few years ago, one of my spiritual teachers indicated to me that my dizzy spells were a conscious choice, and furthermore that they were under my control.

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Awaken the incredible value and power of mastering your attention to create a life you love and a world that works for everyone.

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Nathan Otto

Nathan Otto

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Awaken the incredible value and power of mastering your attention to create a life you love and a world that works for everyone.