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Distractions are relative 

Developing attentional fitness improves your ability to find signals within all the noise — while calling off the battle with the noise.

Any sensory perception can be a signal to detect:

  • a sight
  • a sound
  • a physical sensation
  • a mental image
  • some mental talk
  • an emotional reaction
No single sensory perception is inherently distracting. It only becomes a distraction (noise) in relation to a sensation (signal) you’ve decided to focus on.

If you attempt to track the physical sensations of breathing, for example, sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings will work to draw your attention away from it.

If you attempt to track your emotional reactions in real time, your thoughts will beg to be noticed instead.

If you try to hear your verbal thoughts as sounds, physical and emotional sensations will insist on your attention.

This challenge makes mindfulness practice a powerful attention exercise. It teaches you how to experience sensory details directly while allowing their meaning to blossom and wither in the background.

Thinking and feeling are not our enemies. The problem is our lack of intimate familiarity with how we relate to them in real time.

Most of our waking time is spent spinning stories about ourselves and the world while real life plays out in the periphery of our awareness.

Mindfulness is the natural, trainable ability to toggle away from what insists on your attention and into what you decide to notice. Very often, it’s a shift from our imagination to our lives being lived in real time.  

The price is a willingness to forego the entertainment and illusion of control that a steady stream of internal narratives provides. Not all the time – just more often than never.

The mind-blowing part is that ordinary sensory perceptions are so much richer than adults realize. You can develop the capacity to detect and savor the richness quietly waiting to be discovered in and all around you.

The only thing you need in order to sense your moment-by-moment life directly is the same curiosity you used as a child to begin to make sense of yourself and the world in the first place.

Recent attention grabbers

🍬Going Trick-or-Treating in Your Mind 

This 10% Happier newsletter by Jay Michaelson relates Halloween themes to meditation practice. 

👻  Short-Term Irritations, Long-Term Payoffs

Shifting the way you respond to common meditation challenges can transform them into empowering teachers. 

🎃  The Vampire Problem 

“Many of life’s big decisions involve choices to have experiences that teach us things we cannot know about from any other source but the experience itself.”

🤔 Hidden Brain 

This thought-provoking podcast digs into consistently relevant and timely topics, such as modern masculinity, the role biology plays in shaping political identity, competing perspectives into the partisan divide, and confronting America's opioid crisis

⚛️ Atomic Habits

This new book by James Clear is full of attentional-fitness-friendly insights into the transformative power of small habits.

 🙀 How to Harness Your Anxiety

“You don’t have to like the experience of anxiety to use it effectively. It’s designed to be uncomfortable so you pay attention and do what you need to make it stop. Deciding you can handle your anxiety, even if it’s unwelcome, is one of the most effective things you can do to limit its escalation."

Alicia Clark, author of Hack Your Anxiety


Check out my website for more details about these upcoming sessions. 
  • Come Back to Your Senses through the Holidays
    Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Amelita Mirolo Barn

    Find out how making a habit of paying attention differently makes it possible to feel more at home in your life, even in the midst of discomfort, confusion, and holiday-related stress.
  • Find Rest in the Unrest with Mindfulness
    Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Amelita Mirolo Barn

    Discover how to find and generate restful states in order to reduce stress, change the way you relate to pain, and enjoy life more fully.

Weekly practice sessions

If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, I hope you'll check out the free practice sessions I host in my home. They're usually the first three Wednesdays of every month, but please check my practice page for exceptions.

Upcoming practice session dates:

  • October 31
  • November 14, 28
  • December 5, 12, 19

Sessions include guided exercises, practice in silence, and discussion. All experience levels and meditation strategies are welcome.

Email or call 614-284-9618 for address and parking details. 

Brightmind meditation app

Improve your life. Improve the world. 
Brightmind teaches you the Unified Mindfulness meditation system developed by Shinzen Young. The app guides you through a structured curriculum that allows you to tailor each lesson based on your goals. A recent research study from Carnegie Mellon explains how the acceptance (equanimity) training component is what makes this app so effective

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Keep in touch between newsletters: Take care, 


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