Where does your attention go? Is it a homing pigeon roosting in the trifling things that are “wrong”? Does it land on the gossipy or “dish the dirt”? Does it take you higher, to the “big picture”?
G. K. Chesterton says, ” A weak mind is like a microscope which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones.”
What is your attention magnifying? Does it play on the fields of “stuff” – things – what you have, want, desire, covet, need? Or perhaps it lands on the “people square” and gossip, celebrity talk, reality TV and the shortcomings of colleagues, even friends, looms large?
Does it hang out higher up the food chain? In the realm of the Arts, big ideas – perhaps even Causes or service to the planet?
An easy, but not simple, practice to tame your attention begins with noticing first, where you hang out, mostly. Note by stopping a few times a day and reviewing what you’ve been a) thinking about; b) talking about; c) posting d) journaling. Is it the winter of your discontent with stuff or people or have you launched into the stratosphere of BIG ideas? How are you feeling about what you notice? How do you know?
Next, if you find that the majority of your attention is on the lesser (in order from least to great – things, people, ideas) spaces to inhabit… move up those notches. Rather than wondering if a new iPad will solve all your problems, you might wonder how you could solve a babysitting problem for overextended friends, or if you wonder why your neighbor thinks her cooking is great when you get indigestion after her every meal, you might wonder about who you could feed in the ‘hood that is clearly going hungry. You get the picture!
Of course the doing of these “wonderings” is MOST important ultimately, if you are putting your energy behind your thoughts, but it all begins with attention!!!!
So where are you hanging out attention-wise? Don’t be an attention deficit detractor from the common good (including your own). Step up – man-up, woman-up, whatever. Begin moving your attention to the larger realm of ideas… on a regular basis and watch the launch… new energy, deeper connections, more meaningful conversations and encounters.
Tame your attention and live a bigger life!