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Focussing Attention in the Media and in Meditation

Two days ago I got the newsletter of Alertnet, a humanitarian news network of Reuters Foundation. Alertnet is aiming at keeping relief professionals and the wider public up-to-date on humanitarian crises around the globe. In the newsletter there was a link to the World Press Tracker, that shows which emergencies the media limelight grabs and which are “forgotten” by the press:

(c) Alertnet

You can select different conflicts and time sections and see how much these areas are captures by the media, like Iraq or Afghan turmoil, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon crisis, AIDS pandemic, Bird flu, Somalia troubles, Kashmir dispute, Sri Lanka conflict, Darfur conflict … Out of a database of 10 000 media sources they have selected 108 English-language print publications from Europe North and Latin America Africa the Middle East and Asia. So it is a selective view, but nevertheless an impressive synthesis.

Grabbing the attention of the media is important for the flow of money and often decides on whether or not people react on a crisis. There is quite a business around the craving for attention. And the media are mirrors, instrumental for attracting and directing the attention.

Attention and focus are most essential for directing the focus of our life. Easily we get side-tracked from our genuine purpose by distractive influences. Ads, main-stream opinion, belief systems, only to mention a few. But the most important is one’s own mind. In any meditative practice it is most vital to learn focusing ones energies of attention, expressed through our thoughts. The power of habit is very strong, but with a regular training and attention to your motives you will grow in inner awareness.

Picture of the “eye of divine attention”, from a fountain in Berne, which formerly was the facade of a house.

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