Absorbed Attention Gone Wrong

Aaah, a dog trying to enjoy his bone, yet a nasty foot is raining on his parade! Poor thing.

If you pull up the Power Thesaurus app, what you will see are 15 synonyms for “absorbed attention.” Some of the listed synonyms that stood out for me include preoccupation, intentness, involvement, and engagement.

Keeping those words in mind, I ask you to picture yourself at the beach on a beautiful day (it may be a stretch if you are in Indiana right now, but go ahead and take yourself to surf and sand!)  You are sitting beside a close friend and having a really great time. Both of you are lost in laughter and memories until there is a lull in the conversation where your mind then turns towards listening to the ocean. It is then that you realize that while you might have been hearing the waves all along, you hadn’t been tuned into them. The sound of the ocean was irrelevant because your undivided attention was on your friend.

The truth is, we often become preoccupied with our everyday thoughts and then lose track of time for seconds or minutes. Most of us can relate to remembering a time when we were intently focused on doing something enjoyable. Perhaps we were interrupted and then really surprised by how much time had passed because we’d been so absorbed.

When the overall vibe of what has stolen our attention is positive, it may bring a smile to our face when we think about how absorbed and involved we’d been. However, there are times when our thoughts can lead us to a painful place. We might recall the experience of a betrayal by a friend and notice that we have become upset even when the situation with that friend occurred years ago. I recall different experiences in the days following a car accident when my mind would unexpectedly flash back to scenes from that accident and then noticing the physical reactions of shivering and feeling sick to my stomach. Perhaps you can recall a similar type of experience? If not, maybe you can remember a time when you saw a picture of the younger you and started comparing what you’d looked like then versus now.

Suddenly, you are sidetracked and caught up in a one sided conversation that can include statements like, “I just need to have more willpower,” with the inevitable guilt or frustration that follows. With these examples, what we’d been thinking or doing beforehand is moved aside, with our mind being focused on an experience from the past. We don’t have to try to remember how it felt at the time because our mind and body recreate it once the memory surfaces. Now, you have whatever current life challenges that are already on your plate being mixed in with all of that old stuff and your head is spinning!

The RTT and RRT methods involve being guided into a relaxed state of trance, or absorbed attention, where the underlying reasons behind why our minds are drawing us back is uncovered and addressed. This step paves the way towards resolving whatever difficulty one wishes to conquer, allowing them the freedom to live in the here and now.

Now, with all of that being considered, I have to wonder how much better that bone would have actually tasted to the dog if it had not been so distracted by the threat of it’s invading leg?

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