Sunday, August 12, 2012
One of my childhood friends has been a teacher for many years. Good teachers are always going back to school to further their education. He found himself sitting in a class filled with mostly 20 something students. If that wasn’t enough to make him feel like an old fossil, he was the only one using pen and paper to take notes. Everyone else had laptop computers, ipads or iphones -sometimes all three at the same time.
My friend received an “A” for the course. Most of his fellow students didn’t do nearly as well. He noticed most of what his fellow students were doing with their electronics had nothing to do with the lecture. They thought they could listen to the professor and update their Facebook at the same time, but they could not. Sending a text to a friend and taking notes didn’t really work either.
In our hurried busy world, people like to think they can accomplish a lot more multitasking. Things might bet done but they are done badly.
There’s an old Sufi saying that “a focused mind is the most powerful force in the universe.” I’m also old enough to remember when “be here now” was popular.
My teacher friend was focused on what the professor was saying. His attention was in the classroom, not in cyber space. That is why he got an “A.”
Our attention can be diffused like a bare lightbulb. The energy goes all over, but is weak. Focused, our attention is like a laser, coherent and concentrated enough to cut steel.