As a child, my first and one of the best lessons in paying attention came from an Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan novel.
The sentiment was simple but profound. It was not the elephant or tiger he feared but the silent beetle who carried death in its touch.
I ask you to consider this thought as you place your goals before you:
Is it something that we need to add to ourselves or remove from ourselves to get the job done?
Nature does not waste. You will not see a cat sneaking when there is no dog about nor will a bird issue an alarm if there is no true cause to it. As humans, we must strive to do the same.
Avoid trying to enhance a ready stance at every moment and a tense posture full of apparent power. Instead, remove the inner obstacles that hold you from raising your normal level of awareness.
By increasing our base line of awareness instead of just the heightened alertness, you will achieve what veterans see as true vigilance. You do nothing but reveal your weaknesses and fear by posing and wavering between moments of alertness and those of stupor.
A few examples and drills:
1 Walk down the street and close one eye at a time. Notice what you do not see and then open your eye. Work on this until you do not take your eyes for granted and feel the growing of both awareness and calm within you.
2 Open a cupboard and locate your favorite mug without making any sound.
3 Slowly raise one arm as you place your awareness in the placement of mass throughout the soles of your feet. Feel the changes from this simple movement and with a bit of work you will move as one.
And don’t forget, Nature is not impressed by your efforts. Be calm, be graceful but do not act calm or try to be graceful. Let it come to you by paying attention and by removing the obstacles within.