Friday, August 30, 2013

Questions to help you pay attention

Do you hear a lot these days about the importance of staying awake and aware—of paying more attention to life and what's happening in and around you? Me, too. In fact, it's one of the topics I address often on this blog page.

From time to time I engage in a practice that's known in spirituality circles as the examen. It's a method of checking in at the end of each day to see what you noticed during that day, the idea being that once you get used to the idea of recalling what you saw and experienced on any given day, you'll pay more attention as you go through the day.

Questions can vary from specifically religious, such as "Where did I see God today?" to the broader ones such as "What gave me life today?" or even "In what ways did I bring life to others today?"

In a chapter of Rachel Naomi Remen's book My Grandfather's Blessings, she gives three questions I'd not heard before and which I also like a lot: What surprised me today? What moved me or touched me today? What inspired me today?

Because there's so much happening all the time and we are completely over-stimulated, it's so easy to just zone out and sleepwalk through life. But what a waste that is. Sometimes we need a time-out from all the over-stimulation. Just be sure it isn't permanent!

I invite you to try any of these questions or come up with your own. See if you don't notice things you hadn't before. Does it help you pay more attention to what's happening in and around you? Perhaps it helps you to value and appreciate the beauty all around, too. Tell us in the Comment box below what you're noticing.

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