“Attention is your most precious asset” says Miki Kashtan
Attention is a finite resource in our lives. We are asleep for about one third of each day. We have a whole bunch of self-care needs which take time and energy (eat, drinking, washing, dressing, toilette etc) Many thoughts are on auto-pilot, not helpful and even give us the opposite of what we say we want. Many thoughts lead to stress and even maintain and perpetuate it. Many thoughts rehash the past, or worry in unhelpful ways about the terrible things which may happen in the future.
Many thoughts seem to happen just in our head, and somehow don’t seem to include our body. Do you know what I mean?
According to Google “we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, this means between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute per person. The steady flow of thinking is a thick filter between our thoughts and feelings, our head and heart.”
Are you interested in choosing your thoughts? How would your life be different if you were in charge of your mind and it was working for you, towards your vision according to your values? Would you be interested to learn how to pay attention to thoughts which agree with your natural coordination and design? Would you like to learn how to pay attention to your mind-body connection to improve health and well-being?
If your back aches, your shoulders are tight and your neck stiff – who’s in charge of any thoughts you have about your body? Who is choosing any thoughts which contribute to the state of our body / emotions? Often its not really us. Its certainly not about fault or blame. Many of our thoughts have been imbibed by being around those we grow up with, family, our teachers, friends and things we watch and read.
Could it be, habit?
Habits are a great thing…
if they are serving us. Most of us can brush our teeth without noticing how we did it. Many of us can be on the phone and find our keys in our bag. If you drive, your limbs can learn and make a habit of knowing which foot is for the accelerator and which is for the brake and clutch. After about 150 repetitions, we stop thinking about it consciously and it gets laid down as a useful, helpful habit.
Google continues “We humans, it seems, have anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. But according to some research, as many as 98 percent of them are exactly the same as we had the day before. Talk about creatures of habit! Even more significant, 80 percent of our thoughts are negative.”
If you were paying attention you’ll see there is a number difference between the first range (in para 3) and the second range. If we go for the middle ground we still could have around 40,000 thoughts a day. If only 2% of these are new we have 800 thoughts available to us each day to choose and move us out of any rut. It interests me that we are creatures of habit, and repeat these thoughts many many times.
These thoughts shape us and our lives and our bodies. Repeating thoughts can be great if they work and are bringing us the life experience we want. If they aren’t, don’t despair – you can start paying attention and making new choices, right now.
“Attention is scarce because it doesn’t scale. We can’t do more than one thing at a time, and the number of ideas that are competing for our attention grows daily.” Seth Godin
In order for us to make any changes or moves towards our vision for life, our planet, our life, our selves, our bodies… we need to choose where we put our attention.
You can start now. Small steps. Can you choose to bring your attention (like a torch light shining in the dark) onto the contact between your body and whatever you are supported by, perhaps your feet and the floor or your bottom and the chair? Can you smoothly shift your attention to the movement of your body as the air moves you. Let your breath do its thing, and let yourself be moved by it. Can you start to notice the space around you? The walls, windows, plants, creatures, people?
What happens when you pay attention to yourself in this way? What do you notice?
Often in the very act of noticing, something begins to change.
We can’t pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Attention is a specific focus of our energy. We can notice and be aware of bunch of things together, but only choose one to actually pay attention to. If we think we are multi-tasking, I think we are actually shifting our attention back and forth quickly between tasks.
I’ll repeat this sentence as it strikes me as an important piece in this enquiry. “The steady flow of thinking is a thick filter between our thoughts and feelings, our head and heart.” We can start to choose thoughts which thin out that filter and help integrate thoughts / feelings / head and heart.
Attention is your most precious asset.
Miki Kashtan is an international teacher of Nonviolent Communication, creator of Convergent Facilitation.
Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age.
Lucy Ascham is an Alexander Technique teacher who shares empowering truths about habits, movements and our body-mind integration.