Killdeer feigning broken wing - Photo by Earl McGehee
Scientists have identified two ways the brain processes external information it receives: willful focus (like watching a traffic light) and automatic focus (such as seeing something unusual or hearing a loud noise). Several types of birds have become adept at using a predator's automatic focus as a distraction method. Birds that nest on the ground will walk away from their eggs while pretending to have a broken wing. Other birds will fly off from their nest and act as if their flight is impeded by injury. These displays are intended to divert the predator's focus away from the original target. The fifty-eighth slogan cautions us not to be frivolous (having no purpose or value) with our attention or energy. This instruction is not meant to keep us from having fun (which is worthwhile) but to be aware of how we try to distract ourselves from reality. We may enjoy our comfort so much, that we'll try hard not to attend to any insights that might unravel it. Yet when we work to push away clarity, we waste energy and compound our pain. To be awake requires that we embrace the truth with gentleness, rather than distract ourselves from it.
Do a little census of what you think about and how you spend your time. How do you distinguish between what is frivolous and what is worthwhile? ~ Judy Lief
For more information on the fifty-eighth slogan, go here.