Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Attention and Writing

“At its heart, mindfulness is an uncovering process of noticing what has 
always been there.” - Michael Baime 

Do you recall when you first learned a sport, how to dance, sing. or play an instrument? Gaining the skills involved developing techniques and ways to position the body. You had to pay attention. If you became too tense, you lost control or balance.

All activities cultivated the capacity for presence. Mind and body cooperated to develop harmony.

Linda Stone, a Microsoft researcher, uses "continuous partial attention" to describe a state of attention attuned to everything without concentrating on anything. It refers to our current technological state of staying in hyper-connectivity.

She feels we need various attention strategies in different contexts. Writing a story, driving a car, riding a bicycle all require an attention strategy that serves the moment.

"Relaxed presence," assists the ability to learn to write, drive a car or ride a bike. She asked individuals in her studies, "How did you play as a child?"

Stone learned that if people did things on their own without the stress of someone giving an assignment and evaluating it, they played for pleasure and joy. As a result, individuals developed the capacity for attention and a type of curiosity and experimentation that only happened when they played. When they stayed in the moment, it unfolded in a natural way.

When you explore words in freeflow writing, you move in a state of relaxed presence. Sentences wander with curiosity and wonder as ideas fall upon words without effort.

When no one guides or judges, freedom and the ferocity to write result.

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