“But daddy, you’re doing it all wrong! The engine is in front of the car, not on the roof!”. The son was looking at his dad fiddling with two pieces of Lego, slightly worried about his daddy driving him to soccer practice in a couple of hours. “I thought you knew something about cars?”, looking troubled at two eyes staring out into nothing.

“Eh, what?” The two eyes focused on the son correcting an undrivable Lego car. “Oh, sorry son. Just thought of something important”

“But what could be more important than building this Lego car with me?” The son looked puzzled at his bewildered dad.

“Oh, well, hmm, I guess…”

Stray thoughts, job matters, earlier trauma, worries and indecisions all capture a person’s attention leaving less attention to operate in the here and now. Less operative attention makes for a more troubled life, leads to more worries, captures more attention. Less operative attention leads to the person experiencing less of what is happening here and now. It leads to less Actual Living.

what captures attention

When a person is doing something that requires maximum attention, like skydiving, the person suddenly feels more alive. What about seeking to maximize the operative attention in daily life as well? What about engaging in more Actual Living.

I believe this to be one of the most common problems in life, and I am working to resolve this myself. If you have valuable input on how to recapture more operative attention, you are welcome to leave a comment.

Yes, we have Scientology auditing, we have the KHTK, we have Time Management and we have skydiving. But are there other ideas that could contribute to resolving this? It would be nice to build an even bigger toolbox for recapturing operative attention.

20 thoughts on “Attention!

  1. Two guys got a good grip on this:
    7 Habbits of Highly Effectiv People – Steven Covey
    Getting Things Done – David Allen
    For foundation and then technique…
    On the GTD part there are really good apps for capturing ‘stuff’…

  2. Find a friend, personal coach or assistent to work with once a week.

    I have a coach I meet with once a week to talk about my prior week and plan my next one. We use an algorithm I made and the coach asks me “out of the box” questions about the prior week and things I’m struggling to improve. It’s sometimes by phone and sometimes in person.

    As a freelancer with no boss to report to, I find that an outside perspective helps me find useful ways to improve efficiencies and see those “obvious” things that are functionally invisible from just one perspective.

    An additional viewpoint turbocharges that 5%.

  3. I noticed how I treat interruptions has an impact on where my attention gets a bit jammed up.

    When I catch myself on those occasions pondering too much on one thought and the thought is stuck, switching my thinking 180 degrees usually gives back the attention enough to find the ‘lie’.

  4. Meditation, in whatever form one chooses (prayer, koans, etc.) I actually am having trouble with this very thing myself… Short version is my body has nerve medical issue which slows down my mobility, and it can’t keep up with my mind. So I have multiple tangemtal thoughts always bouncing around in there, and it is very hard to slow them all down or somehow have them seem more orderly instead of like a bunch of ball bearings bouncing around inside a coffee can. While I don’t believe the various metaphysical claims auditing makes (pulling in mass even though thoughts have no mass or wavelength/etc.), I do believe it is a form of meditation, coupled with somewhat interesting koan-like introspective questions. Good post, going to have to think more about this and “diagram” it on paper (what I call my process of stream-of-consciousness writing/scribbling whatever I come up with on paper so I don’t forget it and can codify it later).

    Although I do believe that the more one is able to accept what has already happened and minimize worries about the past, the more one is able to be in the present. Now if I can just master not over-worrying about future events and hypotheticals…

  5. Great article & diagram Geir,

    I use that little line from LRH something to the effect of ‘keeping your eye on the mountain’.

    The ‘mountain’ could be an overall goal ie. total knowingness covering all dynamics, or, it could be an ideal scene for one dynamic.

    I have used Ideal Scene/Existing Scene as a basis for where I want to go … the Ideal Scene being the ‘mountain’ in all dynamics which will give me the Big overall Mountain.

    I evaluate whether my actions, or decisions are contributing towards those goals or not. If they are not, I simply dispense with the action or decision.

  6. 1) Keep your files in order. (memory of past actions)
    2) Record all PT and future actions with details on a battleplan on every DYNAMIC.
    this takes off attention from these cycles. it includes planning of how much time is being spend on what dynamic.
    3) make sure nothing is out of control in your sphere of influence. (As good as possible) imagine you wont have a game if no unpredicted things happen.
    4) Take off attention from the body (by decision). From my experience , the more attention he gets the more troubles he makes.
    5) PTP´s and complexities in you life need to be confronted and solved. (usually these take the biggest part of attention.
    6) To get attention off traumas (bank) study all data series policy, clay demo key data on it. twice or triple. I did it. Imagine, the Data Series policy is the Tech which made LRH exterior to bank so it was possible for him to discover it. These PL´s was honey on my soul. I love it. Whatever is flowing into your direction can be properly evaluated
    and it can´t key you in. You will be able to take action immediately instead of dramatising.
    Thats the way I operate. Hope it helps.

  7. TRO is highly effective and happily it is a skill/ability that can be learned and practiced. LRH once said that the world begins with TRO – I happen to agree with this. 90% or more of all this stuck attention is released when the full experience of TRO is achieved.

    Another is deliberately shifting my own postulates. There isn’t REALLY a past. There isn’t REALLY a future. There is REALLY only now. So what is my frame of mind right now. What am I focusing on RIGHT NOW. What am I creating RIGHT NOW. This millisecond. This split infinity on the edge of now.

    Its simple things for me — realizing that I am feeling out of sorts. FEELING out of sorts. FEELING. So I address the FEELING. I notice I am FEELING bad, worried, [some uncomfortable feeling] and instead of focusing on that FEELING and working on trying to figure out the FEELING, I simply start a stream of ideas that help me to FEEL better. I do it deliberately. When something “non-optimum” happens around me, I don’t take it personally, I don’t look for bad guys, I don’t start mucking around in past experiences — I just notice I am not FEELING good. I decide that I am FEELING good after all. Whatever happened – its all good and its just an experience, no more that that. I can walk myself right up the tone scale by putting my attention on what’s good in my life, appreciating others, feeling glad, being appreciative and admiring. Admiration’s a big, big flow and I turn up the floodgates on it. As I see it, one of the primary misunderstandings about postulates is that they are goal oriented and conceptual rather than emotional. But my experience is that I do postulate how I feel and I do postulate my state of mind. So I’ve got my attention on a lot of things — who says attention units are limited? Make more. Just be more lively, more “lifey” more loving more caring more interested more fun more playful more [whatever feels BETTER] to do. Once I am in a better state of FEELING it all looks different anyway and everything goes more smoothly. Solutions appear out of nowhere, synchronicity happens and all kinds of good changes occur. Even changes that look “bad” on the face of them turn out to be very good indeed as they open doors to other changes that are very good too.

    It all happens now. It all is created now – by me and those that appear as I create now. Good or bad – those are just ideas too.

  8. I sort of keep a “Battle Plan” that I learned in Scientology. I have modified it for myself as follows:

    (1) I usually take some time each day to look around in my mind and note those things that are trying to grab my attention. I don’t resist anything. I just look at these things and recognize them.

    (2) I usually do this when I am at my computer. So, anything that requires further action, I note it down in a list. A list item may contain the major target and the immediate operating target.

    (3) This list is completed when nothing new is coming up.

    (4) Then I look at the list and arrange it an optimum sequence of priority, and doability.

    (5) Then I pretty much follow that list sequence the rest of the day as much as possible.

    (6) This list sort of provides me with a security that all that important is contained in that list. It is important because my attention was on it, knowingly or unknowingly.

    (7) This helps me keep more attention in the present.


  9. I have a tendency to introvert and go out of Present Time pretty easily. One wayI’ve found to refresh and “center” myself I took from one of LRH’s group processing sessions. I guess it’s a kind of “Locational”. But in Locationals it seems usually you’re directed to put your attention on various objects, moving your attention around.

    What I do is notice, or put my attention momentarily on some object, then notice or put my attention on the SPACE between me and that object I just spotted. Spotting a few objects and then the space between me and them works well as a quick refresher for me.

    This is one of the most effective exercises I have found to unfix my attention, extrovert and refresh myself.

  10. Good post Gier!

    Book: Flow: The psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

    A study of attention, and how to achieve a state he calls Flow, “a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity. Everyone experiences Flow from time to time and will recognize its characteristics: People typically feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities. Both the sense of time and emotional problems seem to disappear, and there is an exhilaration feeling of transcendence.”

    Some people may be put off by the title, because it has that word in it but there is value in this work that may help you to resolve this and come up with solutions for people in the area of controlling attention.

  11. I found something which works really well for me.

    Although as far as I can tell, this is not a “squirrel group”, their approach takes the most powerful aspects of what we knew in Scientology as the theta-mest theory, postulates — OT stuff in a condensed but very simple and powerful form. After listening to some of their materials (free on youtube), I was able to rehab most of my best wins in Scn. Now I am listening to and practicing this stuff every day because it is so helpful and powerful. And, did I mention that it’s free? 🙂

    1. Excellent!

      I see this same thing as

      (a) the natural unstacking of the mind
      (b) in terms of getting rid of all inconsistencies
      (c) As you look without putting anything there
      (d) And recognize what is really there.
      (e) You follow the attention
      (f) Where it naturally takes you.


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