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What We Think, We Become

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“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.” Jose Ortega y Gassett

Here’s something to try. Tomorrow, for fifteen minutes, focus all your attention on the person you are talking to. Don’t do anything else during this time. Don’t think about what you are going to say. Don’t think about your work or dinner or kids or appointments or school or anything but the person right in front of you.

When we focus our precious, limited attention… on what we’re doing, we have the chance to change our lives. If I spend time focusing on pain, sadness, slights, insults, wrongs… then I give my attention to those who don’t deserve it. When I find a way to focus on what I want for my life, serenity, positive relationships, time spent doing things that fill me up… I reap the benefits.

Paying Attention to Myself

I spend a lot of time distracting myself from my life. I find any excuse, noise, activity, television, music… anything to pretend that I don’t need to pay attention to myself. I know some people are just the opposite. They spend most of their time thinking about themselves. In a way, these are both just ways of coping.

There’s a lot of talk about control… controlling my time, my thoughts, my energy. For me, the idea of controlling these aspects of my life seems ridiculous. The only time I’ve had success in

Attention = All There Is to Give

From one perspective, there is only one thing we have to give other people, and that is, our attention. Think about how you feel when you know someone is truly paying attention to you. When you know that they’ve heard what you said. We do this with small children because… they demand it, right? They repeat the same request ten times until we pay attention. That’s not acceptable behavior from an adult.

If you believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, then maybe you’ll agree with the Buddha … “What we think, we become.”

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2 Responses
  • Irana van Oostrum
    April 6, 2018

    I completely agree with everything you said, Debbi. Every Friday after school me and one of my bestes friends grab coffee together and we talk for hours. Even though we see eachother every day, there’s something so calming about being able to fully focus on eachother, talking and listening to eachother. We both have found that after a full stressful week of school, work.. we really need our Friday afternoons together. We have done this almost every Friday for two years. What I find so enjoyable is that we are able to find a balance between talking about our problems, thoughts, but are able to listen to the other person sharing theirs as well. And then when we leave, being able to put it behind us and start off our new week feeling refreshed and relieved <3

  • Deborah
    April 6, 2018

    Irana, this is brilliant and yet so simple. You and your bff have found a way to give each other the most priceless gift, attention. I am so happy that you have both give yourselves this gift. I hope you inspire others to do the same. thanks so much for sharing.

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