# To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will
The information that enters our consciousness will either make us content or discontent. As we also have limits to our consciousness (The limits of consciousness), we need a gatekeeper to only allow good information to enter our consciousness if we want to be content. That gatekeeper is our attention. Attention determines whether a piece of information is something that we’d like to process, therefore we need to learn how to focus our attention at our will if we want to feel more content.
These idea don’t come without challenges. We grew up building Attentional habits which are hard to change, and our attention may be demanded by goals that are not ours.
Mihaly, Flow (p. 31).
And it does not happen automatically: there is a disinfect process that makes such reactions possible, a process called attention. It is attention that selects the relevant bits of information from the potential million of bits available. It takes attention to retrieve the appropriate references from memory, to evaluate the event, and then choose the right thing to do. […] The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer. And the person who can do this usually enjoys the normal course of everyday life.
- Intention directs attention
- Seems related to To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will.
- Deploying attentional control reduces irrelevant information in working memory
- This idea is related to the idea from flow: To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will.
- Meditation is a practice to control consciousness
- Controlling consciousness is learnable, and meditation is a form of practice to control consciousness. It is a fallacy to think that meditation is a practice to empty your mind, it’s a practice that focuses your attention on something at will (To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will). Think about meditation as a gym for mental control. Yogi would meditate by focusing their attention on their breathing. Other meditation trainer would encourage meditation by focusing on counting from 1 to 10. It doesn’t seem to matter what you focus on, as long as you are training your focus.
- The treadmill of rising expectation
- In the pursuit of happiness, the treadmill of rising expectation is one of the biggest cause of discontent our life. They normally come from social instruction, which in turn will abuse our genetic programming - getting us to do something that we don’t plan to do. The only way to escape this is to have the ability to control our consciousness and liberate ourselves. (To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will)
- How might we improve our working memory capacity?
- The key to flow is to control consciousness
- Fortunately, we don’t really have to waste our psychic energy to such disorder, as long as we can control our consciousness. To control consciousness is to override biological and social instruction, and To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will. Controlling consciousness is learnable.