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Managing Your Attention. Part 2

Being Aware of Your Surroundings

One way to approach directing constructively is to start the process by being aware of your surroundings. Don't direct, don't worry about your "use"; just lie there (in semi-supine) and look at the ceiling, the colors, the details.

This may seem simple and basic, but in fact few of us are able to be aware of our surroundings while we pay attention to ourselves; the moment we think about ourselves, we start to feel what is happening or lose ourselves in a train of thought, and both of these things are forms of inattention, forms of worrying and holding and interfering with ourselves. In order to think constructively about ourselves, we must first and foremost be aware of what is around us.

Now it may sound rather paradoxical to say that, if you want to be aware of yourself, you must be focused on what is around you, but that is how attention works. If you focus on yourself by closing your eyes, feeling your muscles, or turning inward, you're not practicing attention but inattention. If you observe animals and young children, you will see that they are instinctively aware, interested in and open to what is around them.

Being aware of your surroundings is what attention is, and it's a very good way to start out the process of directing -- especially if you spend a lot of time engaged in the kind of work that involves narrowing your attention, such as sitting at a computer or focused on specific tasks. The first step in thinking constructively about ourselves is to be aware of and attentive to our surroundings.

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