Where is Your Attention?

I spent some time meditating last night. I kept asking myself “where is my attention?”. Asking myself this question re-aligns my focus and draws my attention even more inward.

That can be a tough question to answer, especially if your attention is often aligned with and absorbed┬áin the mind.┬áIn other words, if the last 10, 20 years (or more) of your life you’ve not known anything else but the thought stream in your head, it can be very hard (next to impossible) to differentiate where your attention lies.

Yet I ask myself the question as I sit there cross-legged on the mat: “Where is my attention?”.

As I do, I can feel a pressure in the back of my skull, around where the amygdala lives. Apparently, (this I learned from someone who has studied the brain), the amygdala is the place where the fight or flight response lives.

It’s a very basic, primal part of our brains, and I’m willing to bet, in anxious people, that that part of the brain is always sounding off in one way or another. If you are unable to be at ease in any given moment, it’s likely that the amygdala is activated.

As I sat there on the mat, asking myself this questions, the pressure in the back of my skull became apparent. As I felt and witnessed this sensation and felt more deeply into the feeling of my attention, I began to sense a subtle separation between my attention, lodged in my head as this feeling of pressure and sense of unease and being aware of the awareness.

It was a subtle shift but brought with it a sense of separation, from being completely absorbed in thoughts and mind and removing myself – if only slightly – from its gravitational pull.

In doing this, I realized a deeper awareness in me. One that is free of thought and free to observe. This deeper awareness is my deepest self but I often forget that it is there. It’s all too easy to get sucked into a thought which becomes another thought which lines up with an emotional pattern this is familiar. On the same token, it’s very easy to get caught up in the force of an emotion and to lose perspective, to lose touch with our deepest selves.

In our day to day lives, we often forego taking the time to investigate, to feel into this question, and to sense the presence within our attention. But there is peace there, in finding that deeper awareness. We need only listen and pay attention, to simply notice where our attention is, realizing that we are that, that we are the awareness that observes it all.

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