That You Fail To Notice

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds. R. D. Laing

What we pay attention to is what we notice. We don’t see what we don’t pay attention to, which is what we don’t notice. What we don’t see/notice is significant. It is 90 % of the iceberg. The 10% we see/notice shapes what we think and do. We don’t notice the forest because we are paying attention to the trees. I believe most of you would agree that all of this is true. But have you ever asked yourself: “What am I failing to notice?”

Out of necessity we learn to run on auto pilot, paying attention mechanically and passively most of the time. This underscores the need to pay attention deliberately and voluntarily, thereby liberating our awareness from robotic activity. Daniel Goleman. To me, this tendency to run on auto-pilot, is one of the biggest problems in the world today — a lack of mindfulness; a way of seeing things that lacks awareness, and lacks paying attention to what one is not paying attention to. Maye we all should develop a mind of a sleuth. A story about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on a camping trip demonstrates the importance of deliberately paying attention. As they lay down one night…

Holmes: “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see.”                          Watson: “I see millions of stars.”                                                                               Holmes: “And what does that tell you?”                                                                       Watson: “Astronomically it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically it tells me that God is great and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically it tells me that we have a beautiful day tomorrow.             What does it tell you?”                                                                       Holmes: “It tells me that somebody stole our tent.”

We don’t pay attention to something obvious because we are so interested in something else, like Dr. Watson. You might want to try to pay attention like a detective. Here’s why: “The eye sees in things what it looks for and it looks forwhat is already in the mind.”  Scientific School of Police, Paris. If you learned to see like Sherlock Holmes, you would pay attention to what you don’t pay attention to. Of course it is easier to see what someone else is not seeing.

Do you ever ask yourself, “What am I not seeing because I’m not paying attention to?”  “Am I seeing the trees and not the forest?’ Am I paying attention to just the tip of the iceberg?  “Am I on auto pilot?” If this seems like too much paying attention, too much self-awareness, consider the risks of auto pilot: What you actually see is not all there is. You are only seeing part of the whole. The missing parts may be significant. You are looking at the world as a partially blind person. What you are missing is the hidden wholeness. There is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds. Maybe what I am promoting is mindfulness, a way of seeing things that involves self- awareness, paying attention to what you notice and don’t notice — on purpose.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose,in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”  Jon Kabat-Zinn





This entry was posted in Beliefs. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to FAILING TO NOTICE      

  1. Eugene Unger says:

    Just reason why we come to a complete stop at stop signs. . See you at Holders



  2. Eugene Unger says:

    Distracted driving is killing people! Be careful h



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.