Friday, September 22, 2006

More on attention

Yesterday we looked at the principle that whatever we give our attention to flourishes and becomes important in our experience. Today I want to share with you an excercise I found on line about learning to increase our actual skill in paying attention:
The poet and doctor William Carlos Williams used to carry a notepad around with him in which he listed "Things I noticed today that I've missed until today." Make his practice into an ongoing project in your home or group. Every morning, remind yourself that during the day you are going to notice something new or see a familiar sight in a new way. That evening, describe your discovery to family or friends. If you are doing this project as a group, allow time for reporting at your meetings.
I do think that's a wonderful practice. I already specifically look for things I haven't noticed before on my drive home from the Center every evening. And I think keeping a notebook as suggested here will help motivate us and will enable to remember and appreciate what we notice. Maybe we could all make a point of reporting new things we've become aware of throughout the week when we come to class at the Center. I actually think that's a terrific idea. In the meantime, why not report on those things in the comment section here on this blog.


  1. Your reference to poetry reminded me that I have one to share with you. Last Sunday (9/17/06) Garrison Keiller used a poem in his "Writer's Almanac" from poet Mary Oliver that I really liked. You may be familier with her but she was new to me. Here is the poem:

    The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist

    Something has happened
    to the bread
    and the wine.

    They have been blessed.
    What now?
    The body leans forward

    to receive the gift
    from the priest's hand,
    then the chalice.

    They are something else now
    from what they were
    before this began.

    I want
    to see Jesus
    maybe in the clouds

    or on the shore,
    just walking,
    beautiful man

    and clearly
    someone else

    On the hard days
    I ask myself
    if I ever will.

    Also there are times
    my body whispers to me
    that I have.

    by Mary Oliver from "Thirst".
    © Beacon Press.

  2. L. K. Wilson12:05 PM

    Thanks so much for posting the poem. I love it. I do hear Garrison Keiller and I'm sure I've heard him read her poems before.


New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.