Something that probably doesn’t get enough attention? Attention. “Our attention,” writes Dan Nixon, in this thought-provoking article, “when we fail to put it to use for our own objectives, becomes a tool to be used and exploited by others.” Nixon argues that our attention is something to be guarded and framed as an experience, “not a mere means or implement to some other end.”
He suggests we return to an exploratory mode of attention — even watching our breath — without an agenda. That’s probably where meditation, or mindfulness, comes in handy (at least for me). Granted, the irony of my quest toward being more present is not lost on me. Maria Popova captures Sam Harris’s thoughts on this paradox of meditation quite well in this post and provides some good suggestions for those looking for a good place to start with mindfulness.
And on the topic of practicing mindfulness, if you have not already done so, I can’t recommend Sam’s meditation app enough (I have no financial ties to it).