Paying Attention on Purpose

62-Rainbow over Grand CanyonDr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines awareness this way … “paying attention on purpose”. Think about your daily routines … how much do you pay attention to and how much is on auto pilot? Auto pilot may be fine for brushing teeth and washing dishes … or is it? There is quite a bit of research that shows when we are fully present, productivity increases, errors decrease and results are preferred.

Kabat-Zinn offers us an insight into the benefit of paying attention on purpose. Meditation is core to his teachings. Often when we think of meditation what comes to mind are pillows, seated sessions breathing and LONG periods of time. Jon invites us to consider practicing meditation which, in his opinion, is a first step to “being present” in a practical way. Start with 10 minutes a day … notice the impact quieting the mind for even that short period has on our ability to be present.

Our actions are fueled by our values. When we see value in something it becomes a priority. I invite you to consider “paying attention on purpose”. If you decide it offers you an opportunity for growth, try this practice. Think about the image of the rainbow at the grand canyon included in this post. Jot down what you saw. Now, look back at that same image for ONE (1) minute. Jot down any new observations. What was different about what you saw? How did what you saw change?

This exercise was mind opening for me. The differences made me realize just how much I miss because I am not “paying attention on purpose”. I glide by so many things on a daily basis without even being fully aware. It caused me to think deliberately about “distracted driving” … such an issue currently… and not only because of texting!

How would “paying attention on purpose” serve you? What one place in your life do you want to “practice paying attention on purpose”? I’d love to hear your experience re the image observation as well as any shifts that occur as you pay more attention



  1. Sheila  May 29, 2014

    I tried a “pay attention on purpose” exercise while on a drive on 35E from MPLS to St Paul recently. This is a route I’ve driven hundreds of times before though never with the intent of just observing the beauty around me. How incredible to feel the warmth of the sunshine through my rooftop window and see the incredibly emerging buds everywhere along the river! Who knew that just by turning off my radio, tossing my “on vibrate” cell phone in the back seat and focusing on just observing what was surrounding me as I drove, I would find such calm and peace. Truly, a big smile crossed my face and I could feel my body relax as I thanked God for what was before me!

    • Irene  May 30, 2014

      AWESOME! Yes, it’s amazing what we miss in auto-pilot mode! What a beautiful testimony to paying attention on purpose.


Add a Comment

Password Reset

Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.

amazon asin=&text=