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Topic: Re:to John and Carmen: Attention
Posted by: Carmen Bostic and John Grinder
Date/Time: 23/08/2002 22:54:06

Greetings Shaun

We find ourselves in complete agreement about the importance of refocusing attention on the core activity of modeling.

If I (JG) were to pick the single most distinctive difference that distinguishes geniuses that I have modeled from the "normal" population, it would be precisely the subject of your posting - the ability to choose to focus attetion completely on something relevant to task and to have tha ability to maintain that focus as long as required to complete the task or as long as desired by the person involved.

Your analogy of attention as a muscle (we enjoyed your distinction that while both muscle and attention can be usefully considered nominalizations, the distance between actual experience (FA) and muscle is less than the distance between FA and attention) should prove (and obviously in your case has proved) to be a useful analogy. Like all analogies, it has its limits.

We have frequently found that the length of time a person is capable of maintaining a quality focus is a useful barometer of the rapport between conscious and unconscious process. As a small experiment, try the following: instead of pursuing (this time, at any rate) your usual ritual of focusing attention, pick a new context, a new focal point and instead of what you otherwise normally do, do the following - go systematically through your 3 major representational systems and make an external (actually written) list of the inventory of what these systems have in buffer at present. Thus all images will be captured by individual entries in this list, then all the material stored kinesthetically and then the auditory system. The point is to empty yourself of all the contents of your major representational systems. Then propose through internal dialogue to your unconscious that you will re-own these concerns (the ones formerly in your 3 major representational systems and now captured on the list) after X minutes - x being the length of time you wish to remain without internal experience (images, feelings and sounds including internal dialogue). Secure through a set of involuntary signals an affirmative response to the question,

Unconscious, will you support this experiment by keeping me in a totally focused state for X minutes?

Once you have the involuntary signal confirming the cooperation of your unconscious, note your ability to enter rapidly and cleanly in a focused state and maintain it for X minutes. Let us know what your experience is.

You mention,

"But I am curious about the actual ability to focus because the protocol is so simple and therfore so easily violated"

We would like to invite you to consider achieving states of extended and clean focus but in activities that involve actual work and/or play. The ability to enter focused altered states of consciousness in the manner that you describe no doubt has certain positive consequences but what we urge you to consider is the development of that same ability in each and every one of your actitities. Not that all require this, but if you can achieve this, you have achieved your objective. Clearly, there are some activities that nearly demand such focus - the top performers in theatre, sports... have this ability. In our personal experience as technical rock climbers, it is crystal clear to us that to climb at and beyond your personal best requires precisely this ability.

We were uncertain what your point was in the comment,

"It is interesting how you can take somebody with great intelligence who can figure out the most complicated mathmatical problems, but they won't be able to focus their attention for long unless they go out of their way to exercise it."

as in our modeling of mathematicians, architects and others who have extraordinary skill in focusing on internal visual computations, they are most certainly in the class of highly focused and clean altered states of focus when making such computations.

We will pass on your question about from a modeling point of view as to what the differences that make a difference are between focusing for 10 seconds (but completely) and focusing for extended periods of time as we have no direct experience of the differences you present when exercising these two activities.

All the best,

Carmen and John

Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
to John and Carmen: Attention23/08/2002 03:52:44Shaun Peterson
     Re:to John and Carmen: Attention23/08/2002 22:54:06Carmen Bostic and John Grinder

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