The Three States of Attention

25 August 2015

attention 3 states


Attention, like water, has several different “forms” or states. It can be “focused,” or solid as a cube of ice. This is a state where you give your attention to only one thing and ignore the rest of what is going on around you. Attention can also be in a “sorting” or mediating state, shifting from inner awareness to outer and back again, sorting and digesting information. You may experience this as confusion or weighing two options, such as, “On the one hand . . . but on the other hand . . .” Attention can also be “open,” creative, daydreaming, and diffuse, where you get in touch with memories, images, and ideas and transform them into new patterns, thoughts, or insights. For instance, think of a time when you were in the shower and an idea just “popped” into your mind, or you had an “aha” moment.