1. What spiritual practices help sharpen your attention and take you off automatic pilot?

2. What is your view about the task of cleaning? When has it given you the most pleasure? Why?

3. Who is the best cook you have ever encountered in real life? What have you learned from that person about how they practice this art?

4. What ideas or attitudes have stopped you from viewing ordinary things such as a dish or water as containing the spark of the Divine?

5. Where in your home do your five senses get the most thorough workout?

6. What sport or hobby has enabled you to improve your attentiveness? Share a story about this.

7. Emerson sees God "lurking" in the operas and oratorios of the natural world. When was the last performance in nature that you gave your full attention to? What did you take away from it?

8. When was the last time you listened to your body or saw it as a spiritual teacher? What happened?

Possible Practices

1. Notice what catches your attention this week and why. See if you can expand your attentiveness
this week.

2. Take one activity you regularly do, such as washing dishes, cleaning your room, or going for a walk, and do it with full attention. Don't talk, watch TV, listen to music, or do any other task at the same time.

3. Consider seeing your kitchen as a playground for your senses. Make contact with the room and some of the things in it. See if you can create your own experimental theatre with touch, smell, hearing and tasting.

4. Write in your journal or draw something to serve as a spiritual reminder of God's presence in unusual places.

5. Identify your biggest blocks to being attentive and some small steps you can take to be awake more often.
Visit the Attention homepage for more ways to practice this spiritual quality. Follow the links in the left column to:

  • a collection of quotations on compassion
  • book recommendations
  • book excerpts and teaching stories
  • film recommendations
  • music and art meditations
  • a daily cue, reminder, vow, and blessing for compassion
  • a prayer or mantra
  • personal explorations including imagery and journal exercises
  • practices and spiritual exercises
  • questions for discussion, storytelling, sharing
  • take action with household, group, and community projects
  • and more

Prepared by Persephone Zill with contributions from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat