Tag Archives: attention

Awareness of Intention

I love blueberries. My mother used to make me a blueberry pie for my birthday instead of cake, but nothing exceeds wild blueberries plucked from the bush.

Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. January reflects upon simplicity.

My Army Advanced Infantry training was at Fort Dix, NJ, and the machine gun training was at a range camp in the Pine Barrens. I found wild blueberries which I ate in joy to the dismay of some of my brothers who thought I was crazy for risking eating wild berries. Years later I spent time at Tom Brown’s Tracking, Nature, and Wilderness survival school and found the high bush blueberries standing ten to fifteen feet high, but I still preferred the wilder flavor of the smaller low bush species. But I ate both and some Huckleberries besides.

In 1998, we bought our acres of open forest in Florence County, WI, and I was intent on preparing an area for our camp. After selecting a beaver-cleared spot overlooking the stream valley, I set about plotting a path for a roadway connecting to the logging road that would be our driveway. I contacted a local man to come out and look at the job and I told him I hoped to find some blueberries, which are common in that neck of the woods.

He looked at me and said, “I think there are some right over there.”

Yes, right along a game trail from my camp to the stream was a patch of short blueberry bushes I had walked by dozens of times. Why had I not seen them?

Well, they had no blueberries—and they still haven’t. Oh, I have a patch elsewhere in the woods that produces berries, but this patch seems to drop the flowers or berries most of the time.

No, that is no excuse. I had not seen them because I had not been looking for them. The focus of my intention at that time was to get this road installed. To be fair, an eyeball to eyeball encounter with a large black bear earlier that season right in my camp spot had convinced me a road to get my truck back there was a priority. Yes, that’s my excuse.

“Our intention creates our reality.” (Wayne Dyer)

Any of us can Google this or other quotes on intention and find volumes written about their meanings. I prefer to keep it simple. I tend to attend to what I intend. When I set my intention to focus my attention on an object or phenomenon, I am looking for it. I am then more likely to see it, to become aware of its presence, even what it is doing.

How does that work?

I have a friend who quotes one of his teachers: “Prayer is the sincere desire of the heart.”

I have no person to whom I may ascribe this quote, but we can find similar sentiments. Whether we investigate philosophies of the East, the Native West, or the Middle East, we are sure to find something very similar expressed. I find credibility in that universality.

Meditation is safer and more effective when we are sentient of our intention before we begin. We live in a big world, an immense universe, too big to find what we may seek—unless we choose deliberate awareness of our intention to find. But don’t take my word for it. Try some significant research.

The effectiveness of our meditation is directly proportional to the sincerity of our intention, and the less selfish that intention, the safer our journey in meditation.

If you sincerely desire blueberries, look for blueberries; but, don’t hesitate to build your road to safety, first.

Seek the goodness at your center, and Happy Tracking.

Meditation by Attention

Focus all of your attention on everything.

Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. January reflects upon simplicity.

One of my least favorite statements by young people is, “I’m bored.” Quite frankly, I do not understand it. In the first place, I had so much work to do, and so much playing to do, when I was a child and teen, I never had time to be bored. Perhaps it is a kind of dependency in the expectation that someone or something else is responsible for my entertainment. I grew up believing I was responsible for my own amusement and, I reckon as a corollary, my own education.

“When you pay attention to boredom it gets unbelievably interesting. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Perhaps you have had a psychology course or otherwise learned that the human brain can only attend to one thing at a time. Okay, so that leads you to believe that you cannot pay attention to everything, as meaning all things, at the same time. I have a challenge for you.

Go someplace where interesting things happen. I prefer Nature, but a mall or campus will do. Sit down. Quiet down. Look straight ahead, perhaps at some interesting object such as a tree, statue, or fountain. Keep you eyes pointed directly toward that object but change the focus of your attention.

How? Choose. Simply choose to pay attention to any and all happenings around that object all the way out to the limits of your peripheral vision. Tom Brown, Jr. calls this wide angle vision. You will soon notice movement of people or other animals, maybe plants in the wind, far away from the object your eyes appear to be focused upon. You will begin to notice any, and maybe even all, movements within the range of your vision.

You are paying attention to everything all at the same time. How is this possible? In my simple mind, it is a choice to view everything as one single thing, the whole thing. So, the next time you begin to entertain the idea that you might be bored, try this. It is free of cost or calorie, and it is good for the soul.

“How long do I have to sit there before something happens?” you might ask. There is a simple answer: Try it—more than once. We call this science. Instead of inventing an answer by reason and rhetoric, and instead of accepting an answer of some authority like Erv Barnes or Tom Brown, Jr., take your butt someplace happening and experiment.

I challenge you to sit through four days and nights in Nature, say the Nort’ Woods of my Lonesome Pines, without experiencing something interesting.

Meditation is just a term from Greek meaning to think about. Trust me or try it for yourself, but my conclusion is that thinking about stuff is a marvelous cure for boredom. Wide angle vision is certain to reveal tracks everywhere, tracks that you could not see while you focused your attention upon one tree, one statue, or one fountain. A little practice just might also reveal some really important tracks in your mind.

But maybe boredom is really a euphemism for your denial and avoidance of those tracks in your mind. That’s okay. You may not want to see all those tracks at once, so I recommend beginning your practice of this eyes open meditation the way you may eat an extra large pizza—one bite at a time. And, before you are ready, you may want to read next week’s blog on Intention.

Don’t forget to breathe, and Happy Tracking.