The Importance of the Power of Attention
By Remez Sasson
Developing the Power of Attention
We all know that attention is a very desirable skill, but how many possess it? I don't need to tell you why it is important, and what are its uses and benefits. It is a must for every person who desires to succeed, whether on a minor or a major scale, whether in the material or spiritual world. In order to gain success you need to be able to focus your mind, and to calm down its restlessness and tendency to constantly shift from one subject to another.
Every act needs attention for its successful performance. Working, talking, conversing, studying and playing require attention. Even washing, cleaning the house or cooking require it, in order to be handled efficiently.
People are not born with the power of attention. It has to be developed. Its development and training starts from a very early age. We try to grab the attention of a baby by making strange noises. Later we focus the attention of the child by reading him/her stories. As the children grow up they are required to concentrate on whatever they study or read. All of these activities help to some extent to develop and focus the power of attention, but they are not enough.
There are times when the attention becomes very strong, though involuntarily, and without exercising real control over it. You have certainly experienced a few times a total blankness to the outside world, when you were absorbed in an interesting thriller or while reading a captivating book. This usually happens when we engage in activities that we enjoy and love.
For this ability to be useful, it should be under the control of your will. You have to be able to decide where and when to focus your mind. Real and effective power of attention should be under your control, and you should be able to exercise it whenever you need it.
Every day you are presented with plenty of opportunities to strengthen the power of your attention. Actually, every action can be turned into an exercise. Hold your mind on whatever you do, and try to concentrate without deviating to something else. It is true that special concentration exercises are necessary, but if you cannot find the time and place to perform them, you can turn the whole day into an enjoyable exercise. Focus on whatever you do, and in time your ability would increase.
In this way you will not only strengthen your attention and concentration, but everything you do will be done better, more efficiently, and even faster. In time, as your attention gets stronger, thoughts will lose their power to distract you, and you will find that you can absorb yourself in whatever you do. This will increase your efficiency, and make you enjoy whatever you do.
Here a few suggestions for developing and strengthening the power of attention:
# When reading a book, focus your eyes and mind on the words, and do not to think of anything not connected with what you are reading. Ignore outside noises and any irrelevant thoughts.
# Dress up, and at the same time put your whole attention on your movements.
# While having a shower, pay attention to every part of the body that you are soaping and washing.
# When you clean the house, mow the grass or cook, concentrate on each act and movement, without daydreaming or thinking about something else.
# While working, focus your mind on what you are doing, as if it is the only important thing in the world, even if you do not like your job.
# While working up, walking or engaging in any kind of physical activity, don't daydream or think on whatever enters your mind. Instead, focus your attention on what you are doing.
# While conversing, listen attentively to what people are saying.
# While eating, focus your mind or your food and on enjoying it.
# Always do one thing at a time.
You don't have to do all the above, all the time. Even a few minutes, now and then, will do wonders for you, and develop your powers of attention. Persevere, and you will gain a very useful ability, which will help you on many occasions in your life.