Attention is a powerful tool in our spiritual journey. To reach higher levels of consciousness, we should master being attentive to everything; to ourselves, our surroundings, and spiritual perceptions.
Too often, we are more aware than attentive. We notice things around and within us with awareness but we do not give them our attention. This opens us for distraction hence simply having awareness equals to a stunted spiritual growth. What we need is attention. Attention allows us to learn concentration which is not only a vital skill for our spiritual journey but also for our day to day living.
For a clearer explanation of their difference, we should imagine ourselves in a park. Awareness sees that we are surrounded by various trees and plants. It feels that we are sitting on a field of grass and that there are children playing in front of us. On the other hand, attention puts things in the park into focus. Attention sees that among the trees, there is an old oak tree with a heart engraved on its trunk. It also sees the shrub tailored the shape of a circle. It feels the softness and the hint of moisture on the grass we are sitting on. It also identifies that the toy the children are playing with is a yellow Frisbee. This visualization teaches us that there is a huge disparity between the two which allows us to identify which of the two is important and that is attention.
To enhance our attention, we should take time daily to do this simple practice. Choose a spot in your home, school or work place. It doesn’t have to be quiet. Next, in a relaxed sitting position, choose the object of your attention. For starters, you can choose something stationary. Later, you can practice with moving objects or persons. Focus all your energy on that object. Learn to block everything out; the noise around you and even your own thought. Observe all the big and minute details of that object. Concentrate on the object as you regulate your breathing. As your attention builds, just continue to moderate your heart rate. This will help keep your focus undivided. After several minutes, gradually let yourself be aware of your surroundings again. It is now time to slowly break your attention on the object and focus on the present.
If we successfully master our attention, we can live more vividly and reach a higher level of spiritual consciousness. We see things around us clearly, feel more intense impressions, understand spiritual messages distinctly, meditate more effectively and so much more. For example, if we learn to focus our attention to ourselves, we will discover things that we have never known before. We will come to know our true selves. There is so much to learn out there not only in the physical world but also in the spiritual realm. When we enhance our attention, we open ourselves to all of it.