Human Failure To Attend And Presence

The word ‘to attend’ has its noun counterpart – attention. By nature I have a great attention to detail, which, I always presumed in the past, was just as natural to other humans. But it was slowly discovered through experience that most people skim the surface of any activity they are engaged in, be it reading, repairing broken pipes, speaking to the loved ones.. on and on. Their minds wander to other, unrelated topics, and their bodies are not present as a result, not fully engaged in what they are doing.

Take last night’s interaction here, for instance. It was expressed to me in no certain terms that I did not provide any concrete evidence for Kenneth’s wrong doings; this same thought had been expressed a couple of months back by the same person. It was puzzling, because the evidence is, in fact, provided here on the website. It simply did not occur to me that the person had not read the article. They stated that they had read the material extensively, and I took it at face value. The only conclusion I could master then was that for this individual any Ponzi schemes were a trivial matter to be dismissed.

This is the confusing part about human beings. They jump to conclusions without having looked at any matter in detail. They form opinions without knowing the facts. The perplexing part is human beings do it even when the information is laid out right in front of them. I mean… I placed the story in chapters in sequence. I numbered it. I made sure the full index is displayed at all times in the Jed McKenna section..

France, Ile-de-France

Apparently, it is not enough. And in failing to pay attention – humans rob themselves of the beauty of Presence. Presence means deliberate, fully aware physical functioning: how one places washed cups on a tray, how one locks the door, how one writes a report, how one walks around that lake, how one listens to another, how one….. EVERYTHING. There is a great sense of satisfaction in being fully present, in paying exquisite attention to own movements and activities, both physical and mental. It sets one’s mind at balance, concentrated on one thing at a time. Multitasking is only of use in emergency situations, and perhaps one can argue that the severe complexity of modern human life has made it one never-ending crisis.

Cambodia, Kampuchea Krom
Kampuchea Krom

If you observe a tiger in the moment of hunt, watch just how deliberate each movement is, how focused and present the tiger is. Its presence may mean a difference between Life and Death. But if you observe them at play you will notice the same degree of immersion: full attention to the moment.

When we humans forgot the nature of Presence and of aware living – I don’t know, but I can see clearly the culprit: the human Mind. When you wash those cups, but your mind is preoccupied with the last conversation with your family member… you have split yourself in half at that moment. The Presence is gone, and was replaced with the virtual mental reality. Perhaps, your cups will still get washed as a result, but you will miss the warmth of the water, the sound of the glass, the feeling of quiet satisfaction at the job well done.

And when it comes to more complex things, such as writing reports, putting together a company structure, designing a science experiment, trading on the stock exchange and a million other complex human activities… you will screw them up. You hadn’t paid attention and, as a result, would have conceived a faulty product, which will manifest itself some time down the line, be it a new business proposal or a new romantic relationship.

This is one of the reasons why I call life ‘an ad-hoc project’. Most are mindlessly ‘ad-hoccing’ through life and are missing on its full engagement, because humans are never truly present in anything they do.

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16 thoughts on “Human Failure To Attend And Presence

  1. …how one reads Tano’s last article… 🙂

    Loved it. And now I’ll do the dishes. (Always a pleasure to do the dishes. )

      1. Get what ? the dishes ? To bring them here ? you want to help me wash my cups ? no, no, thanks, I don’t need help. 😉 ( You know I speak french, I don’t get all the subtleties of the english language, if it was humour, sorry, I missed it. 🙂 )

  2. I’ve found that most people are able to stay present in an isolated environment or in an area of intense interest where they are willfully focusing their energy. But it’s in the menial tasks and daily interactions that we most often slip into a state of unconscious living.

    This is one of the benefits of meditation that I’ve found. Not a sit down and try hard state of meditation but a daily centered meditative state where you don’t succomb to the swirling energies around you. It’s beneficial to just simply hold your space when engaging in life and interacting with other people rather than resisting in the form of debate and dispute. This seems to be a game of energy. People and things want your attention but can you give it without giving away all of your power?

    Presence seems to be a form of giving Love. Providing a space that allows for… Resistance seems to be the act of dispersing this energy outward and wasting it on things, many of which we do not have immediate control over. Learning to concentrate that energy is one of the most important things that one can master. In that way we enter a state of effortless flow and a rather uncommon state of being.

    1. I would question ‘willfully focusing their energy’.

      From my experience there is no ‘willfully’ in presence. No mastering either, it occurs naturally. But maybe that’s just me.

      1. Ah I see the subtle difference here. I was talking more about the “failure to attend” that you were alluding to. One can certainly have presence without being present. Not too uncommon these days actually. But to be present in my experience indeed takes an effort of direction and will. If not who knows where you are. Probably a smart phone :p

      2. Looking into this a bit yesterday I found there to be 3 modalities of giving attention! I found this interesting and somewhat useful. (Too bad I can’t just link the image.)

        1. Focused attention – the deliberate act of focusing on something. Usually best for completing a task or achieving a goal.

        2. Open attention – more of an open presence that remains perceptive to anything and everything.

        3. Immersed attention – attention that is gained usually by drawing the subject in. Most commonly associated with things that are highly entertaining or enjoyable to the observer.

        The source of this document recommends to become familiar with all three and to cultivate the ability to shift between whichever method is most suitable for the given situation.

        1. Why do you need others’ words to talk about “attention” (or even about anything) ? 🙂

          1. I am always looking to improve and gain clarity. I’ve found that when I know that I don’t know much then I have the opportunity to learn something. Where would you get the idea that I “need” as opposed to choose?

          2. Amazing things happen when you remain open to the fact that there may be more than what you already know 😉

          3. Ok but if you can’t say something with your own words, then, in my view, you don’t know that thing.

            I only like to talk about what I experience first hand. What’s the point of parroting others’ words. 🙂

            Truth can only be in what you experience yourself, not in others’ words. Others’ words are only words.

            Those words for instance, my words, you have to throw them away, don’t believe me. Is what I say true or not ? only you can see it for yourself.

            As far as I’m concerned, I don’t believe anybody.

            Nobody can teach me anything about attention. I have to look by myself for myself. 🙂

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