Zen is full of beautiful and meaningful sayings, but this is one of my favorites. It’s pretty straightforward, but the message behind it is important. In essence, it’s saying to give your full attention to whatever you may be doing. Be present.
The value of complete attention is richer experiences, quicker results, and appreciation of the little things. It’s certainly worth the effort, the problem is, it is easier said than done.
In today’s world, our attention is being pulled in every possible direction. Attention is the hottest commodity. It’s almost as if the world is built to prevent us from focusing on anything, as more and more distractions pile up around us. It’s all we can do to keep our head above the flood of information, notifications, and noise.
Despite this feeling, we can overcome the distractions, but it all begins with awareness. We need to be aware when we lose focus, when our attention is becoming divided, and when we start multi-tasking. Every task deserves our full attention and we need to notice when we’re not giving it. Albert Einstein hits the nail on the head when he said:
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
Don’t try this at home, but his point is essential. Everything is vying for our attention, but we need to place it in the things that are most important. The things that we originally set out to do. Whether its being with a loved one or working on a project.
I think the worse culprit of distraction is our smartphone. No matter what we’re doing, we can’t seem to set our phones aside. When we’re eating, when we’re talking, when we’re watching TV, and even when we ought to be working. Our smartphone is calling to us like a siren song, waiting for us to unlock its world of distractions.
It’s not always the smartphone (for me it is), but it’s a good place to start. The next time you find yourself reaching for your smartphone when it’s absolutely unnecessary, think back to the Zen saying. Don’t wobble.
Challenge yourself to keeping your phone at bay. Pull yourself back into the moment and re-center yourself on the task at hand. Do what you intended to do and not everything else.
As the saying goes, if you’re going to sit, just sit. If you’re going to walk, just walk. Don’t wobble.