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Our attention is bombarded from many sides: ads, podcasts, school courses, business priorities and deadlines, live streaming, texting, music, searching the internet, and listening to reminders pinging on our phones; and that’s just in our immediate surroundings. Often there are more things vying for our attention! As a result we may have gotten into the habit of reacting to the latest attention-grabber, instead of making free or conscious choices of how to spend our energy and where to invest our attention.
Paying attention can be a spiritual practice. It’s a better habit to cultivate in life. When I use the phrase “paying attention” I mean making choices about what to pay attention to and when.
This spiritual practice becomes especially vital when we’re trying to understand what God is calling us to do with our lives. Discerning this choice needs our commitment to paying attention. Decisions that support us in paying attention include setting aside time for quiet and deep listening, even, at times, to go away for a few days of retreat so we can be less interrupted in our listening to ourselves and to God.
The heart is a metaphor for this deep listening. In quiet times, especially extended times of quiet, we can pay attention to what matters to our hearts. This is where we meet God, who leads us to choices where we can best use our unique gifts.
May you not delay in making the time you need for this kind of listening, remembering that God is present in your heart’s desire.
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