I feel the easiest way for us to understand how attention can impact our life, is through a real life example. Here's one that Shoshana has provided of a lawyer in turmoil - the same turmoil all of us feel at one point or another in our lives...
He was the managing partner of a prosperous corporate law firm, wealthy and accomplished. But at fifty, something was gnawing at him.
"He has always believed that by the time he was fifty he would have more freedom and flexibility in his life. But instead he saw himself a slave to billable hours, to the needs of his partners and demands of his clients. His success was his own prison."
This came to him through the Odyssey program mentioned above - this program flips the script of what society has driven into our minds as the norm - focus on your exterior, how to market ourselves continually, to be the hottest commodity on the planet - to one that focus's on looking at our life from the inside out, at our changing sense of self and what constitutes fulfillment.
Feelings? Who cares!
We all should care. Shoshana says,
People have to stop thinking of their feelings as irrelevant and messy, and realize they are in fact highly differentiated, nuanced patters of reaction, knowable sources of information.
We only will know what to do by realizing what feels right to us. Attention is our most precious resource. Feelings are the body's version of the situation; everything we want to know about our situation is revealed in our feelings. The big switch for businesspeople comes when they realize what they thought was soft is hard, and what they thought was hard is often arbitrary. In this sense, feelings are guides to the big issues, like 'where am I going?'What happened to the Lawyer?
With self-knowledge the lawyer resolved to reduce his work hours by 50 percent over the course of two years and spend the other half of his time doing what he loves - working on a farm. The result: Two years later he did just that, plus started up two other businesses - and he made more from cattle sales in six months that he had in two years at the law firm.
(excerpt from " Working with Emotional Intelligence ")
How does Tibetan Buddhism play a part in our Modern Lives?
Tibetan Buddhist's have been refining their techniques of developing sustained attention for 1000's of years... actual achieving this state for long periods of time is called "Quiescence". I'll save the intricacies of this incredible practice for another article, for now though if you are interested in learning more about it, arguable one of the most researched and detailed books ever written on the subject (I named this website because of it!) is " Balancing the Mind: A Tibetan Buddhist Approach to Refining Attention ". It is very detailed and I'll write an article on it soon - the reason why I mentioned it is to provide an insight to why the heck these Tibetan Buddhists are so happy, so fulfilled.
So here's a link, so you don't have to take my word for it, from a French Biochemist Matthieu Ricard who took the big leap to Tibet and became a monk to study what is true happiness is (it's fantastic and worth a view):
Accurate Self-Assessment - and its Value
Knowing One's Inner Resource, Abilities, and Limits_______________________________________________________________People with this emotional competence are:
A Simple Practice to develop your Attention
A technique I've practiced in Tibetan meditation to refine your own attention is: