In her book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Jenny Odell seeks a remedy for the constant commandeering, manipulation and scattering of our attention. Odell’s suggestion is to just watch.
A huge contributor to our attention’s tendency to wander is the compulsion to escape the present moment. Simply existing here and now without our thoughts striving toward the future or reminiscing about the past is much easier said than done. But when we project our consciousness out of the now, it causes dissonance in our vibration. When our energy (aka our attention) is scattered, we feel tired, nervous, jittery and afraid. When you just watch what is happening right now, you summon all of your energy back to you. When your attention is focused completely in the here and now, you feel relaxed, grounded and at ease.
Today, train yourself to watch. Watch your experiences, watch your thoughts, watch your emotions, watch yourself open doors and shut windows, watch yourself chop vegetables and flush toilets. Watch yourself write emails and breathe in and out. Watch yourself smile, watch yourself resist what someone else is saying. Watch all of it, and see if you can get to that place where you watch it all with curiosity, instead of judgement or attachment.
To practice being the watcher, say to yourself, “Watch yourself ___________,” and fill in the blank. For example: Watch yourself type these instructions. Watch yourself hear the door open. Watch yourself listen to the wind chimes. Watch yourself glance at the clock. Watch yourself notice the cat jump on your chair. Watch yourself feel anxious about going to the dentist. Watch yourself lick your lips. Watch yourself take a sip of water. And so on.
The more you watch yourself, the more peaceful you will feel. With practice, you will become detached from outcome. Instead of being identified with your thoughts and getting blinded by emotion, you will be able to watch the thoughts and emotions pass through you, without judgement. You will feel peaceful, curious, and above all, identified with your source energy. You will become that which gives you life.