Where We Place Our Attention
Posted on 26 November 2010
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Let’s think for a second about emptiness. Why is a cup of tea useful? For its decorations? No—it’s useful for its emptiness, for the space where we can pour tea.
When we let go of all the things that are cluttering our minds, we become like that tea cup, and we are able to use that space to focus on what matters: giving attention to people, here and now.
Society considers money, praise, and rewards important. However, attention speaks clearer than everything else. Why does attention matter? Because it is personal, and highly valuable, both in terms of quality and quantity.
Quality is about making a deep connection with the person to whom we give attention. Quantity is about time. And time is the ultimate currency.
Imagine this for a second: There is a $86,400 lottery drawing. Each one of us is automatically entered into it with no action required from our side. The odds to win this lottery are extremely slim, but someone has to win it and we did it!
On a daily basis, each of us receives a very generous prize: $86,400, wired to our private accounts for personal use, each morning.
This award comes with some restrictions:
- The lottery takes back any money not spent at the end of the day; we cannot carry it forward. Each day at 1 AM, we receive another $86,400 for that day.
- We cannot transfer money, we may only spend it.
- The prize can be discontinued at any time, with or without warning–even in the middle of the day.
- There is no way to run for another prize.
What would you do? Use all the money, to benefit yourself and the people you love?
If so, let’s start doing it, here and now, because we already won this lottery; it’s the time in a day!
Every day, we each have 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when the day finishes, any unused time is gone.
What we haven’t lived up that day is forever lost. Yesterday is forever gone! And there is no guarantee about tomorrow.
Each day the number of seconds available is refilled, but this can stop at any time, with or without warning. So, what are we going to do with these 86,400 seconds? Aren’t they worth so much more than the same amount in dollars, euros, pounds, or material possessions?
Think about that.
Let’s enjoy every second of our life, because time goes by much faster than we think. Let’s actively enjoy our time instead of trying to fill our time with passive activities.
Let’s make the only investment which really counts—the investment in meaning.
Yes, almost everything is possible in life and the sky is the limit. However, we can’t do everything at the same time, because our main resources—time and energy—are limited.
So let’s set our priorities based on our values. Let’s budget our time and talents. Let’s take control of those 86,400 seconds, starting here and now! Let’s give time and meaningful attention to the people who count for us.
Photo by egorick
About Frank Ra
Frank is a Dharma instructor, coach, blogger on http://www.amareway.org. He uses AmAre as an approach to happiness and meaning; it stands for "being": Aware and Accepting; Meaningful and Motivated; Active and Attentive; Resilient and Respectful; Eating properly and Exercising.