Each day features 86,400 seconds for us to ‘spend.’ The question is, what experiences will we buy with that time today? Because those choices, connected end to end, form our life. What we place inside those seconds is our life.
When we begin, we need to know how to actually place our attention. Almost everyone does this unconsciously, so becoming conscious about it may feel strange and clumsy at first. But like anything the brain does, even intention can quickly become a comfortable habit.
Today, to exercise this aspect of our minds, each of us will prompt ourselves to become present by participating in a game. In this game, we merely have to notice some details about life, and then categorize them.
This is us slowing down the process of what our minds normally do. We are making the movement of our attention into a more conscious act.
To play the game, before the end of the day we simply need to collect five examples of each of the following things:
Collect the eye colour of 5 people while listening to or speaking with them, and say that colour to yourself in your mind.
Collect the voices of 5 people while listening to them, and define each voice to yourself in your mind. The terms you might use could be things like baritone; raspy; weak; loud; mumbled etc. etc. No judgment, just note whatever it is.
Collect a detail from each of 5 people’s faces and define that quality to yourself in your mind. The terms you might use could be things like thin, straight nose; tiny ears; thin lips; a widow’s peak; etc. etc. No judgment, just note whatever it is.
The point of this exercise is not what we notice, but that we notice. We want to get our minds to become present more often during a day. This exercise helps.
Only by practicing that degree of attention will we see it become natural. This is a way of spotting that process throughout the day. To ensure we complete the task, we may even want to keep a list of the ones we’ve done. It would help.
Even if we’re shut in we can do these exercises using the radio or TV. It’s a simple exercise, but it does take us one more step forward in our movement toward a more conscious life. Why not do it today?
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.