Archive for November, 2014

I was raised in a family of very intelligent people, all of whom had a college education.  I never felt as intelligent as them, and in general never felt particularly smart.  My first office job after graduating high school was for an insurance agency in Culpeper. That’s where I discovered my spelling was atrocious. The owner of the agency actually took me aside to ask me if I was ‘slow’. Since then, I have worked at furthering my education, and definitely worked on my spelling!

One thing I’ve learned is that there are many kinds of smart. There are the word-smart, number and reasoning smart, linguistic-, musical-, interpersonal, and naturalist kinds of intelligence to name a few. While education improves our cognitive skills, other skills remain underdeveloped. One such underdeveloped skill is our ability to pay attention.

The world we live in now is truly mastering multi-tasking to an alarming degree. The media knows to keep advertisements to a minimum because they will most definitely loose our attention beyond those few seconds.   If we have ever tried to simply watch one phenomenon for more than just a minute, we know how difficult and even impossible that can be. A good example is of trying to watch the second hand on a clock with full attention. How long before we feel trapped or anxious or our minds wonder? Most people can’t keep such focus for even a minute.  Try it and see, noting when your attention wanders or your thoughts take you to something else.

The ability to pay attention is a treasure worth cultivating. It can be relaxing, even transcendental. Paying attention is a prelude to living life in the present moment – which is the only place where you can fully experience life.

I hope you have a wonderful November. With Thanksgiving coming up, I sincerely hope you take time out to thoroughly enjoy that last of autumn.


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