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Paying Attention Again

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake. . . .Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” Henry David Thoreau

Last June, I posted about paying attention, and I am writing about it again today. Have you heard the sayings that psychotherapists and ministers share what they need to hear and to learn? I know that when I am awake and paying attention life is better. I am more alive. Often, I send my consciousness into the future. I worry about my to do list or think about what we might do next year. Sometimes I let my mind be so busy that I forget to eat. I might drop things or have small accidents. My husband and daughter like to tease me about the time that I spilled coffee on our kitchen ceiling! When I do pay attention to this very moment, I am more present and more alive. With awareness, I can make conscious choices and feel more peaceful.

In my congregation on Sunday, we each meditated with a small river stone. I asked folks to really observe the stone, to see its colors, and to feel its textures and its weight. I asked them to truly pay attention to the small and simple stone. Then I asked them to allow the stone to share its wisdom or to send them a message. I asked them to remember that the stone is part of the holiness of the universe, part of the interdependent web of existence just as we are.
Then I asked them to call a word or phrase from the stone into the room. Here is what they said:

Slow down
Hope
Worn by water
Balance
Peace
Rest
Energy
Friend
Faith
Lasting
Exquisite
Smooth and easy
Solid
Antiquity
Character
Warm
Refuge
Just right

From slowing down and paying attention to a simple object, people became aware of beauty and strength. Through that focus, some of them noticed what they needed in their own lives. There is nothing magical in this. It is simply slowing down and paying attention.

May you be awake and aware in your life.

  • Kathy Ellis

    Ah, I do need the reminder to pay attention myself. Even as I wrote this, I wasn’t paying attention to the clock and was late for an appointment!

    • Anda Larson

      You can’t really give your full attention to more than one thing at a time. As you were writing your piece, your mind was fully on that; hence, not paying attention to the clock was a good thing. Had you let the clock come into focus, your written piece might have suffered.

      I hope the person you were meeting understood it that way! :-)

      • Kathy Ellis

        Thanks, Anda.


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