Who knew these apparent allies could be so far apart in their truthful meaning? In this post I pick apart their DNA.
There has been an internal battle in sharing my experiences with The Coaching Room (TCR) here in Australia. I’ve carried a belief that my words won’t do justice to the truth of the moment, however in this blog post I am making a start by sharing a recent moment. A comparison recently came up detailing the nuanced differences between these seem-to-be-synonyms.
Firstly though, I’d like you to think for a moment…what does attention mean to you? What are you paying or do you pay attention to?
In school we are told to ‘pay attention’, and if we don’t, we are reprimanded. There are books written about the art of attention. If we are unable to pay this attention, there is a doctor ready to prescribe a pill that will help, and there is a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to prove it. For people, communities, and society as whole, the word attention is ‘valued’ in many respects. Even the verb ‘pay’ subtly implies a cost.
If our attention is being paid to something, we are distracted. Our attention can be taken by the screaming child on a plane, or the jackhammer of a construction site. As the mind wonders on aimlessly with its story, our focus is entirely directed toward somewhat un-resourceful things.
The potential for growth exists within the identification of the subtle, nuanced meanings of words that we accept to be true.
Awareness as a word is infinitely more expansive in its meaning, therefore an immediately more ‘connected’ state. Through awareness we are able to connect more fully to the moment and all surroundings. Awareness includes, and even transcends attention, so on the good news front, awareness isn’t far from reach if we know attention well.
Attention is thinking, adopting values, impacted emotional states and doing. Awareness is freedom from triggers, frustration, sadness and distraction. Awareness is being. In light of this, awareness is ultimately a much calmer state through which to approach life.
Are you able to cultivate awareness? Have you ever experienced awareness? How does this comparative definition (attention .vs. awareness) sit for you? Are you caught by your thoughts, or can you choose to observe them?
Quick tip: Awareness is a process and a practice, requiring patience. Once we learn how to tap into it, we find the truth of each moment.
This post was informed and inspired by the content provided at ‘Integral Semantics Facilitation’ course with The Coaching Room: The founders, Jay Hedley + Joseph Scott, have informed my growth and development into coaching, facilitation and simply being more of a being for the past 18 months.