Abhinayadarpanam ( book excerpt from CognitveYoga.)
Do one thing at a time is one of the exercises. This may seem easy, but it essential to being on task, open to the present moment and receptive to the information nature is providing us right now. Most of the time, we are thinking, and in that “dream,” we believe we are being attentive. However, if the mind is making comments or subtly shifting from liking to disliking the task, these will actually block your availability to attend.
Try a simple task such as chopping carrots. As you place the knife against the skin of the carrot, what really happens? How does the carrot feel in your fingers? Does the carrot snap or do the cells part when the blade touches them? Is there a sound? How much pressure is needed? Where does the sound come from, the carrot or the bottom when you contact the surface of the board?
When we are really challenged by a task and go deeply into it, we are able to solve problems and recognize appropriate strategies with sustained concentration. I am reminded of Ray Bradbury’s classic short story, “I sing the body Electric,” where the Grandmother says, “If paying attention is love, I am love.”