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The Arrow of Attention: The View of Consciousness as a Tool

Updated: Apr 11

Consciousness is one of the most complex and intriguing phenomena in the human experience. It involves the ability to perceive, feel, think and be aware of oneself and the surrounding environment. It is the quality that allows us to experience life subjectively and be present in our own experiences.


The definition of consciousness as a universal mind is commonly associated with some philosophical and spiritual traditions, particularly those that explore concepts of non-duality and interconnectedness between all beings and things.

From this perspective, consciousness is seen as a fundamental force or principle that permeates the entire universe, connecting all forms of life and manifestations of energy . Rather than being an exclusive property of humans or other forms of conscious life, consciousness is considered to be something broader and more universal, present in everything from subatomic particles to entire star systems .

Understanding consciousness as a universal mind suggests that all forms of existence are interconnected through an intricate network of consciousness, which transcends the boundaries of time, space and individuality, as the new paradigms of quantum physics explain to us . It is as if all forms of life were expressions or manifestations of a single and indivisible cosmic consciousness .

This perspective can be found in several spiritual traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and other esoteric philosophies. Although specific interpretations and concepts may vary between these traditions, they all share a fundamental view that consciousness is a creative and unifying force that permeates all reality.


The individual mind is the set of mental processes and neural pathways that have been building a structure over time, reinforcing these connections through individual experiences . The mental processes that constitute the mind develop through the complex interaction between genetic, biological, environmental, social factors and individual experiences throughout life. The mind is the result of this continuous development.

From gestation to adulthood, the brain goes through a dynamic process of development, in which the proliferation of neural cells, the formation of synapses and myelination occur. These processes contribute to the structure and functioning of the brain, giving rise to the neural circuits that support mental processes.

Furthermore, the environment in which a person lives plays a significant role in this development. Childhood experiences, education, social interactions, cognitive stimuli, and exposure to different cultures and contexts influence how neural pathways are formed and how mental processes manifest.

Thus, the individual mind is the result of the dynamic interaction between genetic, biological, environmental, social influences and individual experiences . It represents the complex, multifaceted structure of mental processes and neural pathways that underpin consciousness in the physical body and human experience .


We have already defined mind as the set of mental processes crystallized by the diverse influences of our environment and genetics. The formation of the mind arises from the need for survival, which allows us to say that the entire structure of our mind is founded on the primordial fear of death from which all other fears originate . If so, when a thought appears in our mind, it is our fear speaking . And when we respond to that thought - because it usually expresses itself as doubt - we are talking to our fear. The so-called rationalization is nothing more than the explanation of our fear of our current situation and the pointing out of fictitious problems that do not exist now. The mind is rarely present in the now, it always takes us away from it, sending us to the past or future, producing melancholic or anxious states of consciousness .

To truly understand the nature of mind and consciousness, we need to transcend identification with the patterns of thought and emotion that normally dominate our experience.

We can develop the ability to observe our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations with a detached awareness. This allows us to recognize that we are not limited by our mental experiences and that there is a deeper and more essential consciousness that is our true SELF.


Attention is a cognitive process that allows us to select, concentrate and focus our consciousness on specific stimuli . It is the ability to direct our mental resources towards certain information, thoughts or experiences, while suppressing others.

Attention is essential for perception, learning, memory, decision making, and performance on cognitive and motor tasks. It can be divided into different types, such as selective attention (focusing on a specific stimulus), sustained attention (maintaining focus over time) and divided attention (dealing with multiple tasks simultaneously).


Passive attention occurs when we are exposed to external or internal stimuli without a conscious or intentional effort to direct our attention to something specific . In this state, we are receptive to the stimuli that surround us but are not actively involved in selection or filtering processes. Passive attention can be compared to a state of sensory receptivity or absorption.

On the other hand, active attention involves a conscious and intentional effort to direct our attention to a specific stimulus or a particular task . In active attention, we are involved in a process of selection, concentration and focus on a specific activity, while ignoring or suppressing other information that may be distracting.

Attention is, in fact, a valuable and influential resource in our lives. We are constantly surrounded by stimuli that compete for our attention, whether political, commercial, relational or personal. The way we direct our attention determines how we perceive and respond to the world around us.

The constant invasion of our attention from various sources can, in fact, limit our ability to make conscious and autonomous decisions in some cases .

Effective attention management is a skill that can be developed over time, but we often don't receive formal education or specific training on how to do it . From a young age, we are constantly bombarded by external stimuli that compete for our attention, and we are often not taught how to filter or prioritize these stimuli consciously.

A lack of ability to manage our attention can result in distraction, lack of focus and difficulty concentrating on important or meaningful tasks and decisions that we will regret in the future .

It's true that changing ingrained attention patterns can be challenging, especially in a culture that values multitasking and constant stimulation. We are constantly exposed to influences and stimuli that can shape our perceptions, preferences and behaviors from a very early age. This can include cultural messages, social expectations, media, advertising and other forms of external influence that can impact the way we think and act.


Just as vision allows us to direct our attention to specific objects in our visual field, attention allows us to direct our awareness to specific aspects of our experience. We can think of attention as the vision of consciousness, allowing us to focus on certain aspects of our experience while ignoring others .

In the same way that we can choose where we want to direct our gaze in a visual environment, we can choose which aspects of our experience we want to focus our attention on. For example, we can direct our attention to a meaningful conversation, a challenging task, or a relaxing bodily sensation, while letting go of irrelevant distractions or worries.

Just as vision allows us to explore and understand the world around us, attention allows us to explore and understand our own internal and external experience . It enables us to actively participate in life, make conscious choices and respond adaptively to environmental demands .

Attention can be perceived as the lens through which we perceive and interact with the world, shaping our conscious experience and influencing our understanding of ourselves and the environment around us.


Managing the focus of our attention is our quantum instrument and the tool of our consciousness that we can and should use, for our good.

When the point of attention is within the individual mind, it serves as a frame in the interpretation of what is observed, polluting the observation with judgment, prejudices, beliefs and standards .

When the point of attention moves outside the individual mind, it can encompass more as it no longer has a frame that limits it and connects with the universal mind that also makes up our Self .

By stepping outside of the individual mind and adopting the perspective of an impartial observer, we can gain insights into the transitory, conditioned nature of thoughts and emotions. This frees us from identifying with the stories we tell ourselves and allows us to live more freely and authentically .

If the arrow is our attention, the arrow in strong movement and aimed at the target is active attention. If the target is the invisible, quantum and supreme reality, we will reach the state of presence consciousness, with a bird's eye view of ourselves, our thoughts and emotions, as if they did not belong to us.

In short, to live outside of fear and without it, the ability to observe oneself and achieve a state of presence awareness is essential. This is the arrow that hit the center of the target .

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