Ask Dr. Druid . Day 12 . Attention is a thing

Ask Dr. Druid . Day 12
Attention is a thing
This piece will grok better for you
if you read it with your mouth as if out loud.
[Ask Dr. Druid is designed to begin at the beginning. Click here.]

    One of the glories of our beloved Earth Dream is the suddenness with which a lifechanging learning can occur to you – the apple falling on your Newton head. Thus it was when I learned that attention is a thing.
    First, a few new tidbits to pack for the jaunt to Attentionland. Frolic is my pure-essence-of-creation’s-wonders tiny, silver Burmese cat.
   Then we need to recall the amoeba and the pseudopod. Remember that a paramecium is the oval-shaped single-cell protozoa with many little hairs sticking out of its sides which act as oars to busily propel it through the water. It is a sensible, orderly tiny creature.
   The dear single-celled amoeba on the other hand looks like a small splat, a spill, a tiny puddle. It moves by oozing a portion of its inner gluck into a pseudopod or false foot towards which it glides.
   So now we have the main characters for the little drama which taught me one of the great secrets of the universe.
   Stick with me while I set the scene. I was standing next to the end of a couch in my living room. Frolic, the silver Burmese cat, happens to be sitting down on the seat of the couch where people sit. On impulse I decide to play a quick game.
   I scritch my fingernails back and forth on the top of the couch’s seatback to attract Frolly’s attention. Her eyes gleam darkly as her pupils widen. She takes her attack crouch.
   Pause here to know that the game I’m playing is to get her to pounce toward my hand which I will cleverly and brilliantly snatch away at the last instant and I will win. Ahh, ain’t I swell! So I scritch my fingers. She watches intently, motionless. I scritch my fingers. ‘Damnit, Frolic, attack my hand,’ I think. I scritch my fingers impatiently. The moment irritation dilutes my attention, the moment my attention wavers, boom, ouch, she attacks my hand, she wins, my hand is lunch.
   Aha! I get it! Eureka! Of course! How obviously and wondrously clever. If a sublime predator like a cat can see its prey’s attention, it can attack at the instant the prey is at a momentary disadvantage, the moment its attention wavers. That’s what all this motionless, crouching waiting is about.
   I swooned with the radiant, inner nova, blood-igniting joy of knowledge. I did the trick over and over and over, and, every time as soon as I made my attention wander, boom, she hit my hand. She wins.
    Now I go forth in the world knowing that attention is a thing, a substance. I don’t have a clue whether she perceives that attention as northernlights-esque or as the waviness in the air of heat off a highway or as polka dot or plaid or salty. But I do know that attention to her is as evident as whether I’m wearing a hat or not.
  Knowing that attention is a thing, knowing that single fabulous fact, changes everything.
   Now, besides proving to your cat that you’re an inadequately evolved idiot and easy prey, you can begin to detect the pseudopod of your own attention as it reaches out to touch things in the world.
   There are two vivid ways to reveal your attention-substance to yourself. To allow your attention to vividly pseudopod out, you need to feel safe. If you ever get to see someone holding a kitten or holding a puppy, all your defenses will fall, and you’ll feel the warm flow of your attention “Awww” flood out to touch the kitten or puppy.
    If you haven’t chanced upon a kitten or puppy recently, fret not. Take a pencil and a piece of paper and look at something on your coffee table, bedside table, or desk. A cup, say. Draw it quickly.
   Whoops. Look at the object again. Notice that the handle is higher or lower, and so4th. If you’re not a natural drawer, this trick works dramatically to reveal to you your ability to increase and refine your attentions. When you re-look at the object to see it more clearly, you can feel your attention specifically pseudopod out to touch the object. Natural drawers may not feel the difference so keenly.
   Look at a newspaper headline. Now count the letters. Look at your cat’s whiskers. Now count the whiskers in each little row of whiskers. Or how many claws does your dog have on his front paw? What colors are they?
   I find that when I shift from looking at something to really seeing something, I can feel a pressure of intensity pushing my left eye forward in its socket.
   So, today, notice the shift from vague attention to keen attention 3 times. Note those in your log. We get to wizard-quality attention as we shift eclectically from things being interesting to their being deliciously, uttermost fascinating.
Ask Dr. Druid, 66 Days from Lead to Gold, Secrets of  Alchemy You Can Use, a druid shaman’s playbook .. Intro; Prologue; Day 1; Days 2 & 3; Day 4; Day 5; Day 6; Day 7; Day 8; Day 9; Day 10; Day 11; Day 12; Day 13; Day 14; day 15 Review 2; Day 16; Day 17; Day 18; Day 19; Day 20; Day 21; Day 22; Day 23; Day 24; Day 25; Day 26; Day 27; Day 28; Day 29;
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6 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Druid . Day 12 . Attention is a thing

  1. It's absolutely true, pogblog. Now that I've noticed, I'm feeling like a ballet dancer of pseudopod. This is the best delight ever from the pogblog candystore. This knack of making the extremely serious extremely delightful blows me away.

  2. cl, Having been burned at too many stakes makes druids eschew all the churlish churches for sure.
    iotas, Pseudopoding is a delight. Much more to come on that down the winding wizard path.

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