- Don’t be the best dressed man on the bus.
- Touch each door before you open it.
- Look up the time on your wristwatch only when you have to.
- Relax your arms when you jump.
- Learn sixteen different knots.
- Always give credit when it is due.
- The way is much more familiar when you look behind you every fifty steps.
- Carry a pen and a small pencil.
- Find at least two directions for everything you see and hear.
- Repeating yourself is mostly unnecessary. Repeating yourself is mostly unnecessary.
- Count things yourself. 🙂
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.
Distance also changes with shadows and lesser light. Close your eyes and think how many steps you have to the light switch or your closest tree and check if you can reach it with this number of steps and if your heading is right. do this many times and in different places and textures. For example a forest will not guide you in a straight line and a desert dune can tell you by the angle of the sand many things.
Play with this and remember that you can feel light even if your eyes are closed or burning. You can sense what you are stepping or crawling on without looking at it and with a stick without touching it. The wind will tell you of an opening, the angle of the ground of the landscape and the sound what you are stepping it. Move slowly. In the forest a broken leg is very much like a death sentence. Pay attention and do this drill with your kids.