Open Yourself up to Attentiveness
There’s an old parable about a very educated English gentleman visiting a well-known Buddhist master to see what he could learn from the spiritual teacher. The holy man poured a cup of tea for the Englishman and kept pouring and pouring until there was tea all over the floor.
Finally, the Englishman could not sit silently any longer and asked: “Why are you overfilling the cup?” The Buddhist master replied: “This cup is like your head. It is so full that nothing else will go into it. You must empty yourself first in order to learn anything new from me.”
The trait we’re discussing — attentiveness — works a lot like that. In order to be attentive, we need to empty ourselves of other thoughts and set ways of seeing things. When we use our senses to take in all we can about other people, we can much more accurately adjust our behavior to the needs of others. When we’re attentive to situations, we can exercise our power of vision to make positive changes for ourselves and others.
Attentiveness is all about being aware of what’s going on in your environment. It can be as simple as noticing when someone is getting bored, to sensing that now’s not the right time to put your ideas across. It’s knowing when to act and when not to act.
Attentiveness is also the ability to tune into a problem and come up with its essential components. “What’s really going wrong here?” That insight provides the basis for envisioning something that will truly work better.
Attentiveness means you’re open to outside stimuli entering your field of perception or, if the stimuli are more subtle, entering your intuition. It means you’re open to more information coming in through your eyes and ears, through your sense of touch, and through what’s known as your kinesthetic sense. That’s how your muscles and the organs of your body react. Our bodies can tell us loads about how other people are feeling if we’re attentive enough. The ability to be attentive to others allows you the access to the other person’s feelings, and sometimes those feelings are mirrored in your own body — feelings such as fear, sadness, and discomfort. When you pay attention to those feelings within yourself and in others, you will be able to identify potential problems