Archive | March 2010

Another take on attention

Attention is one of the main themes of this blog, something I like to think and teach about – and what I see as the scarcest, and therefore most precious resource in our connected lifestyle.

I came across a view of attention in a book about Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine from India:

“Ayurveda says that attention happens when prana goes out and carries the vibration of awareness toward the object. Thus, attention is awareness plus prana, movement.”

Prana is the essential life energy, also known as qi/chi or ki in Chinese and Japanese traditions, respectively.

It’s interesting to think of attention as more than focusing the mind on something, but also directing, or giving of your own energy to the object of attention. If you think about it that way, attention becomes even more precious – it’s almost a giving of the self.

The view that includes energy in attention might also explain why people “feel” someone’s gaze and all of a sudden turn around to meet it. Do they feel the energy, the prana? Could it be that even us Westerners who have not developed our potential to feel and work with energy (like Yoga, Tai Chi, and other traditions do) – feel it anyway, even though we don’t quite have a name for it?

Does it change anything for you, to think of attention as giving of yourself, directing your energy towards someone/something else?

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