What will devote your attention to today? Stop worrying about what you need to do. Tasks will always be able to find you. And seduce you. Begin your day by grounding your attention in what matters most; that you are here, that nature has made this day possible for you, and that there is something rather than nothing at all.

Nature renews your senses. It is an invitation to being and an escape from doing. In nature, you feel presence again. And the otherness of the world that surrounds you. It is where you heal your hurried life, not by slowing down, but by becoming fully present. Aware. Attentive. You can be seen here. You can commune with the creative energy of life. Sometimes you will be graced with wonder and awe. Occasionally, you may even be fortunate enough to capture a glimpse of divine light.

Everyone worries about attention today. And they should. We live inside an attention economy, a mercurial realm in which your attention is prey. Tools colonize your awareness. Hijack your focus. Appropriate your conscious. Your attention is no longer yours anymore. It assimilates into the electronic abyss. Screens are your drug. And your body follows. Now, you always look down your head protruding ever forward, as if it is trying to leave your shoulders and crash into the screen. The world around you vanishes. Eventually, your shoulders fold forward, and your upper spine is pulled down into the posture of modern culture.

Ask yourself this question each day: What deserves your attention? Attention is a precious and finite resource. In a world where too many things clamor for your attention, what will you choose to devote it to? If you choose to rapidly switch your attention across an insurmountable number of choices, there will be nothing left of you before the day ends.

Remember, your presence here is a privilege. Life created you out of the mystery and it will eventually render you invisible. In between birth and death is the privilege of being alive. You are mystery given presence for a brief, fleeting moment in time. You are and always will be a child of Nature. This is where presence happens. This is where being takes place. This is the essence of attention.

You cannot experience Life through a screen; that is, a screen offers something other than life. You might disagree and ramble on about connection, communication, interactivity, information, and productivity. To a limited extent, I will agree. But I will also say look out in the world at what all of this has contributed to. Your screen is an electronic void. A dead zone. Just machines made seductive by colorful bits and bytes. There is no life in there. No wonder, No beauty. No awe. This is how you forget you are alive.

When you dedicate your attention to the natural world something remarkable happens. Your presence begins to crawl out from under the burden of individualism. Nature whispers to you that individualism is fiction. An illusion. Delusion. It teaches you, much to your relief, that you are not special, unique, or entitled. It helps you to understand that the incessant yammering of your mind is an illness. And it shows you that the exhausting effort to constantly prop up and repair your fragile ego is not why you are here.

Now, as you look over all the years of hurried doings, aimless misdirection, delusional multitasking, being haunted by hordes of tasks, and being hunted by the productivity trolls – inside all that distraction – the disintegration of your attention – you realize that you forgot how to live.
There is no need to worry about this. Or grieve it. Just understand it and change while you still can. You don’t need to read someone’s book. Listen to a podcast. Take a course. Go on a retreat. Follow the latest self-help guru. None of this can help you.

Just go outside. Everyday. Find a way to go into Nature. Even a park, if that’s all you can access. When you are there find somewhere to sit. And then observe. Open your presence to the felt sense of being inside of Life again. Give all your senses over to the surround. And if you are fortunate, you will forget yourself for a while. There, in that sacred embrace, you will reclaim your attention.

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