Is it not wanting to pay attention to myself, but paying attention to myself?

Contribution by Isabel Hernandez Negrin

Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

It may be that on reading this piece of text it seems to us that it says the same thing in both parts of the sentence.  However, they are different things.

Where does the difference lie?  In that the first part is a desire or perhaps an idea; I believe that I would like to, or should, do something.  The second part is an action, not a thought.

Let us take an example:  I want to go on a diet or I think that I should do it.  And what tends to happen with that kind of approach?   That I do not do anything, I do not engage with the activity, it just remains as a desire or a good idea.  But if I go into the kitchen and look for the right food and prepare and eat it, then I do.  There we have moved towards action.  When I formulate a desire or a thought it may be that it remains as something that I project into the future.  But if I commit, that is now, because action is only in the present.

The same thing happens to us if we plan to pay attention, but we do not do it.  And that is the magical difference: it is about doing it, practising it, instead of thinking and brooding about it.  

So, to succeed, paying attention is always in the present.  It is here and now.  Tomorrow we do not know what will happen.  Action is today, here and now.