Mindfulness & Attention

A Special Application

Attention is one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of our existence as human beings. We go through most of our life without paying much attention to attention. If you’re reading these words right now then you’re paying attention. But what does that mean? The challenge we are faced with is to try to understand how our attention works and to improve our own attention skills.

Cultivating mindfulness is not an easy task, but with persistence and practice we can make significant changes in the way we use our attention. We can improve concentration, our intimate relationships, our spiritual practice, and our overall mental health. What’s at stake is nothing less than our experience of life itself.

"We've shown that mindfulness can be reliably and validly measured and has a significant role to play in mental health," -- Kirk Warren Brown, visiting assistant professor of psychology.


Basic Principles:

When it Comes to Attention, I am the Enemy by Gregg Krech

“Anxiety is misdirected attention.” -- Shoma Morita, M.D.

“Perhaps there is no property in which men are more distinguished from each other, than in various degrees in which they possess the faculty of observation. The great herd of mankind pass their lives in listless inattention and indifference as to what is going on around them, while those who are destined to distinction have a lynx-eyed vigilance that nothing can escape.” -- American jurist William Wirt

One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness ... In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. Her presentation is a powerful lesson in how we use our attention and the importance and profound value of creatvity and the present moment.

Articles From the ToDo Institute’s Resource Library

Japanese Psychology and Purposeful Living

Anxiety as Misdirected Attention: A Case Study

...I learned two very important lessons. First, never make assumptions that because something is long-standing it is therefore complex and intractable. Secondly, working simply is the best way to start (and in this case finish).
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Powers of Observation

...[O]bservation is a major key to success. The observation of the passing scene is proof against boredom; every day brings new sensations, new things to enjoy and to think about. And by providing constant mental and emotional stimulation, observation lets people know what it means to be truly alive -- to live life to its full potential. Whatever other successes one may have, the leading of a vibrant and fulfilling life is the highest success.
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Tokonoma

Exploring the Link Between Gratitude and Attention

By Gregg Krech
[T]o cultivate gratitude, we need to develop a new habit of attention.... Through self-reflection, we can come to see everything we have, and are, as gifts. And through self-reflection we begin to train our attention to notice what we haven’t noticed.
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When it Comes to Attention, “I” am the Enemy

But it is the tragedy of psychology that it is still preoccupied with self-preoccupation. Too often it teaches us to do what we already do too well -- pay attention to ourselves. In the course of exploring our pain, our worries, our feelings and our dreams we forego the development of our more needed skill -- to notice and engage the world around us. Without practice, our muscles atrophy. So the next time you find yourself self-absorbed, take a walk. Look around you. The world is an interesting place. It might even give you something to do. If the stars are out, close your eyes. Listen. You might just hear them twinkle. That is how they get your attention.
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Upcoming Events

 

Distance Learning Programs

A Natural Approach to Mental Wellnes
month-long program
September 19 - October 18, 2013

Gratitude, Grace and a Month of Self-Reflection (Naikan)
month-long program
November 11 - December 10, 2013

On-site Programs

Online CEU Courses
Morita Therapy from Japan:
The Psychology of Action and Attention
An online self-directed CEU course
sponsored by the ToDo Institute

For further information on certification training and registration, call
802-453-4440 or email [email protected]

Wake Up and Smell the Rosemary

Before long, the hour was over. My client’s anxiety had vanished. There was nothing more to say. No grand message or moral to send him off with that night. Our actions had spoken louder than all the words I had uttered previously.
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Multitasking Madness

So if you’re good at multitasking, try working on your likely weakness -- one pointed concentration.
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The ToDo Institute Membership

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This is Your Wake-Up Call

We think of a wake up call as a rare service -- something we ask for when we’re traveling and staying in a hotel. Something we arrange to happen first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, our minds often drift back to sleep, to mindlessness, many times a day. But we can use sounds as wake up calls to help us reconnect to life around us.
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Extreme Attention

One positive point from this realization is the heightened awareness of the need to pay attention to the now. I have found that the world is an amazing place if I simply take the time to notice.
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Simply Seeing

Is paying attention that easy? You mean, that’s all I have to do?
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Teaching Children the Skill of Paying Attention

The ideas of floodlight, flashlight, and laser light attention have given our students and staff a vocabulary. We can use these words to help students redirect their attention. For example, if a student is looking around the room rather than focusing on the task at hand, saying “flashlight attention” would cue the student to focus on the assignment. Knowing the difference between these three types of attention helps students begin to think about what particular attention skill is best suited to the situation they’re facing at any given moment.
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The Sea of Mindfulness


Accept what nature offers, and work with it. After some years, the effort becomes natural, effortless. And you are ever mindful. Sailing single-handed, especially, mindfulness is THE rule of survival. Constantly aware of the slightest shift of the wind, a gathering of clouds on the horizon, a change of the texture of the sea. The feel of the rudder, the angle of the sails, the sound of the rigging, the motion of the boat, all become part of the whole that never wanders from your consciousness, it all works together, and if you lose this mindfulness,

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Learn More...

Recommended Books & Audio CDs

A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness
by Gregg Krech
If you are looking for wise and practical guidance about living well, you won’t find a finer resource than A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness. Read more about the book, A Natural Aprroach to Mental Wellness here.

A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness by Gregg KrechBuy now


The Habit of Living
by Dr. Ernest mastria
A practical guide to reduce anxiety and depression, or to simply enjoy life.

Habit of Living BookBuy now

Light Mind: Mindfulness for Daily Living
by Padraig O'Morain
Mindfulness involves deliberate awareness of the flow of our present moment experiences.

Light Mind CoverBuy now

Life is a Matter of Attention
by Gregg Krech.
This audio program on attention provides insightful, practical advice on how to develop your attention skills, elegantly blending the spiritual, the psychological and the practical. Complete with exercises.

Life is a Matter of Attention audio CD by Gregg KrechBuy Life is a Matter of Attention now


“A Man is what he does with his attention.” -- John Ciardi

“Permit me to say without reservation that if all people were attentive, if they would undertake to be attentive every moment of their lives, they would discover the world anew. They would suddenly see that the world is entirely different from what they had believed it to be.” -- Jacques Lusseyran in Against the Pollution of the I

“The quality of one’s life depends on the quality of attention. Whatever you pay attention to will grow more important in your life.” -- Deepak Chopra in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind


Thirty Thousand Days

Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living

Thirty Thousand Days arrived and after spending some time reading the articles, I must say that you have outdone yourselves. The journal looks great, the articles are terrific and the paper even feels good. Congratulations!” -- Dan Lucas, Arlington, VA

“What an OUTSTANDING issue! I devoured it cover to cover and found each and every article inspiring, humbling and informative. It is a real pleasure to continue receiving this fabulous publication.” -- Jane Skiba, New Paltz, NY

 

 

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