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Focus in a Blurry Bowl of Soup

The way things are going these days, rocking our economic foundation, causing us to take a hard look at our ideas about ethical behavior and wealth and our assumptions about greed and fraud, what will happen next is about as clear as a bowl of pea soup. A BIG bowl.

How does one cope, not just about things food (is my food safe? is it harmful? can I afford it?) but with the whole enchilada (will I have a job? a place to live? what if I get sick? what about my kids?)? We live in a time when there seems to be an acceleration of just about everything, including a spreading uncertainty. Like they said, we’re “Mad as Hell” and we’re not going to take it anymore. Except, of course, if we do.

So, what to do? First, put aside all we don’t know, including: how the economy will fare, what global climate developments mean, if the Earth’s intergalactic position affects us, whether there will be rain a week from Tuesday and lots more.

The way to proceed is to focus, not just on what we know (that’s good too), but on actively paying attention. Practice focusing the mind by directing attention to your experience, the way your body feels, your breathing, and other physical feelings. Practice directing your mind to these sensations, just noticing. The idea isn’t to change your breath or posture but just to start creating the patterns that will help you to focus your attention. The more you learn to focus, the easier it becomes, which is what we need in these “interesting” times (the dubious Chinese curse). With our financial currency so shaky right now, let’s pay with what will really help us all — paying with our attention.

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