Our brain responds to three types of attentional cues in our life:

  1. It notices what we need for our survival.
  2. It notices what appeals to our interests… or demands our attention.
  3. It notices what we choose to notice.

Most of the time, we function in the second category.  We automatically absorb and respond to “demands and appeals” from our current environment.  Because this can weaken our ability to direct our own attention, it helps to practice “paying attention on purpose” to keep the last function strong.


  • I unplug, slow down and breathe.
  • I slowly scan my entire body with an openness to learn about my physical sensations… not what I think I am experiencing but what I am actually experiencing.
  • I allow my mind to reveal whatever is prominent, without getting lost in the sensation or my inner commentary (thoughts, beliefs, wishes, etc.) about the sensation.
  • I curiously explore each predominant sensation as it comes up.  I see if it changes as I notice it.  Does it get stronger or weaker or stay the same over time?  Does it get larger or smaller or move across my body?
  • I gently guide my focus back to the simple sensation when I notice a judgment or thought or belief about it.
  • I continue to focus on the sensation until it disappears or is no longer compelling.  I focus on my breath until another sensation appeal for my attention.
  • I do this for as long as I am able to hold a focus on my body sensations without struggling, or until 3-5 minutes have elapsed.
© Copyright 2013 Maria Hunt
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