You do, every goddamned day.

Why? You don’t notice what makes today different from yesterday.

I tried something new this morning, in the cold darkness of my woodshop where I began my day.

I lit a candle and focused my eyes on it as I did my breath work.

Having read so much about Sanyama, and how our understanding of an object is clouded by so many things superimposed upon one another, I noticed I was able to focus on the flame of the candle. I watched it as I counted my breaths, and sometimes I was able to observe the changes to the areas in the flame, the way it was affecting my vision, and the way it fluttered a bit when I let out my breath. 

What came into my mind as I did this: the old saying that you never step in the same river twice. And then I thought, but I do. When I go through every day without taking any time to cultivate my awareness, my ability to pay attention to fine details, or consider the importance of the people around me, I enact a repetitious life, drained of meaning.

My goal is to cultivate this awareness a little bit every day. I am not trying to pay close attention to everything. That’s impossible. But by taking a few moments every day to practice the mechanism of constructing attention, I become open to small moments of awareness that I can celebrate.

I believe that over time, I can begin to live more and more of my day in a more refined, flexible mode of awareness, so that eventually this aphorism will be true, even for me – a lifetime scatterbrain, a coaster, a skipping stone, momentum-junkie, performative oblivion-seeker, sky-castle-dweller, fastidiously ungrounded misser of the point, allergic to the obvious, despiser of purpose, hater of goals, rejecter of all linearity, context-switcher, task-layerer, peregrinator, chaser of tangents, idolator of digression, time-rebel – that I too may notice when I’m stepping over a singular river and a peculiar moment for a specific reason.

Until that shining triumphant epiphany, I will continue to take brief moments to cultivate my awareness of the objects of attention.

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