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Stability of Attention

Stability of Attention

You may notice that most of the time your attention moves spontaneously. Mindfulness practices help stabilize your attention, which means that instead of attention bouncing around spontaneously, you have the ability to direct your attention intentionally.

There are three ways attention moves spontaneously.

  • SCANNING - Looking around for something interesting or pleasurable or looking around for a threat.

  • CAPTURED - Something sudden and surprising captures your attention. For example, a loud noise happens and it captures your attention. You bump your head and attention goes immediately to that.

  • ALTERNATING - Your attention moves back and forth between different things quickly. This is subtler. Until your awareness is more acute, might think you are paying attention to two things at once, but your attention is actually going back and forth quickly between both things.

As you progress in mindfulness practice, you begin scanning less, your attention is captured less easily, and you can choose to stop alternating attention. Your attention begins moving more intentionally. Your attention is more stable. You can direct it, you can sustain it, and you can control the range (narrow or broad) of your attention better.

Also, when you attention is distracted, you will recover much more quickly and easily.

That's stability of attention.

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