Practice: Shifting Your Attention

Here’s a simple way to begin to reclaim your power and achieve high performance by learning to bring your attention back inside yourself.

To know where you place your attention, it’s helpful to experientially know the difference between here and there.

While sitting, focus your attention outside of yourself on an object (not a person) in the room. Choose something that is not too far away from you. Let’s call this location of your attention “there.” After you’ve stared at it for a few moments, you’ll probably feel as if there is no distance between you and the object. Now reverse the direction of your attention and slowly—frame by frame—bring the attention back into your eyes. It’s like fishing; you send your line or in this case your attention out, it connects with something and then you slowly reel your attention back inside you.

Close your eyes as soon as you sense the attention move back into them. You may or may not see the object in your mind’s eye. Let your attention, and if you see it, the picture of the object, move into the back of your head. Then slowly allow your attention or focused awareness to settle down through your body. When the attention moves into your body, you will no longer see the picture. Imagine and pretend your attention is sliding down through your spine. As it drops lower into the chest area, notice your breathing. Allow your attention to continue to settle deeper until you are aware of breathing into your lower belly. Take a few moments and continue to sense/feel your lower belly fill up and slowly let go of the breath. Let your buttocks and thighs relax into the chair. This is what I call “Here”. Then, trusting your own sense of timing, slowly open your eyes and look again at the object. Whatever you experience is correct.
• Repeat this experiment two more times. You may not think you are very adept at this or that anything is happening, but just play along anyway.
• Each time you finish, describe the difference in your experience between being here and being there.
• Did your relationship and sense of distance with the object change? If so, how?
• Which location felt more familiar to you?
• In which location did you feel more empowered and relaxed?