your attention, please!


As I was reading the transcript of Larry King's show called Beyond Positive Thinking ( I found myself halting midstream to marvel at this simple statement by James Ray:

... Well, energy flows where attention goes. If you have a relationship, a romantic relationship, and you're grateful and you love him or her, you give them attention, right? If you have children and you love them, you give them attention. Attention equals love.

The whole What is love? question has been simmering on my mental back burner for a very long time. In my curiosity, I've gathered lots of opinions -– love is a need, love is a vibration, love is a feeling, love is a choice. Howard Jones sings, " ... maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be."

All are very interesting ... and none very practical in terms of expressing or experiencing more of it. It simply never occurred to me to link attention and love together in any meaningful way. Yet suddenly, it seems very difficult not to! Just for the sake of playing devil's advocate, I have been scanning my memory today for any instance where I expressed or received love in the absence of attention. I can't find even one.

Could this be why so many people feel somewhat slighted when their partner reciprocates their "I love you" by parroting it back in a flat tone without shifting their gaze from the television screen? Might we already intuitively know that words alone mean nothing without attention backing them up? And that even traditionally loving gestures can feel empty if they spring from habit or autopilot rather than conscious intention in the moment?

I generated some variations on the theme to see which felt most deeply satisfying and practically useful to me. Here's what I came up with:

Attention expresses love.
Attention demonstrates love.
Attention distributes love.
Attention engages love.
Attention is love in action.
Attention is love in 3D.
Attention is proportional to love.

I have no idea if any of these are really true. Heck, I don't know if anything is true! But I thought it might make for an interesting experiment: if I conceptualize my attention as the currency I use to express my love, will I find myself spending and investing it differently?

I notice that attention comes in lots of packages – it doesn't necessarily require my physical presence. My attention is in the birthday card I picked out, the flowers I had delivered, and the email I sent. It's even in the thought I just had of you, which made me smile.

And when we ARE together, maybe the most satisfying expression of love for both of us would be to give each other our full attention. I'm predicting that a little dose of conscious and loving attention feels much better and lasts a lot longer than rote communication driven by habit or expectation.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic, if you feel inclined to share ...


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