Image: Ed Paschke

Paying attention is not a narrowing-down process or a discipline of your mind. Paying attention is an experience of freedom. It’s having a listening mind.

Let yourself become aware of your breath for a moment and notice any feelings of discomfort in your body. And at the same time notice that the sun is shining and the dog is barking and that the people in the next room are talking. Keep breathing and notice that all of this is happening in a remarkable relationship between you, your breathing, and all you are observing.

Open your focus of attention and stay with your breath.


And notice that an amazing thing happens. Your world opens up. It becomes a world that is not narrow or restricted. But a world that is full of discoveries moment to moment.

Paying attention is what happens when you have a listening mind, when you stay with your breath and observe what is going on inside you and around you. And if you are totally open to this experience, then everything becomes extraordinary.

Life becomes interesting and alive.


SCIENCE SAYS: According to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Health Statistics, millions are practicing meditation to enhance their health and wellbeing.

“Neuroscientists have long discovered that cortisol, the stress hormone, can indeed create lasting changes to the brain structure and detrimentally affect brain functions. Reducing the impact of stress by engaging in effective countermeasures such as meditation can mitigate at least some of those injuries.”

Learn more about practicing various types of meditation in my book, “Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind (Simon & Schuster, 2002)