Conscious attention

There is a meditation exercise which consists of adding – generally for ten minutes a day – the reasons for each of our actions.

For example: “I now read this blog because I saw a link in Facebook or Twitter. I now think of such-and-such a person, because the subject I read about lead me to do so. I walked to the door, because I am going out”.
And so forth.

Buddha called this “conscious attention”. When we see ourselves repeating our ordinary routine, we realize how much wealth surrounds our life.
We understand each step, each attitude.
We discover important things, and useless thoughts.

At the end of a week – discipline is always fundamental – we are more conscious of our faults and distractions.
But we also understand that, at times, there was no reason to act the way we did, that we followed our impulses, our intuition; and now we begin to understand this silent language which God uses in order to show us the true path.

Call it intuition, signs, instinct, coincidence, any name will do – what matters is that through “conscious attention” we realize that we are often guided to the right decision.

And this makes us stronger.


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  1. Elisiana says:

    Esta semana assisti uma reportagem sua no programa da Ana Maria, como é bom revíª-lo, vocíª faz falta aqui no Brasil, adoro seus livros, apesar de ní£o ter lido todos, pois só consigo ler o que estí£o disponí­veis na Biblioteca Municipal, ou que meus amigos me emprestam, mas tenho uma de suas relí­quias: O Mago, uma das primeiras edií§oes. Felicidades

  2. Zach says:

    I have not read every post so forgive me if this is repetetive…the question of meditation and “too much noise” or distraction…it took me some time to understand that…”what you resist will persist”…in meditation, this holds true…you find yourself “trying” to clear your mind, effectively that’s the resistance and of course…you can’t…if you just let the noise be…the thoughts come and let them go…like water flow. Eventually you will find yourself in a state that brings a stillness and quite mind, best done with specific breathing exercises where the focus is on the breath…

  3. eleonora says:

    mi piace l’idea di acquisire consapevolezza …

  4. Rizal Affif says:

    Nice technique, it’s new for me. Gracias.

  5. katie says:

    Call it intuition, signs, instinct, coincidence, any name will do – what matters is that through “conscious attention” we realize that we are often guided to the right decision.

    And this makes us stronger.

    & … more serene …
    so true <3

  6. Daniel says:

    It’s interesting. Reading through here I’ve noticed a few comments from people saying they can’t meditate because of all the “noise” and “thoughts” going on. Meditation is often referred to as “practice” or “work”. If your mind was in a perfect state of bliss, you wouldn’t be meditating, you’d be in a trance. Meditation is the act of noticing your thoughts and noise, and being aware or as Paulo mentioned, having conscious attention. If you are noticing your thoughts and bringing your attention back to a point of focus, you are meditating!

    It’s as simple as this. Bring your attention back. This way you are practicing the art of acting consciously in all areas of your life, because you are learning how to allow your thoughts to pass without attaching stories to them, and your actions become less tainted.

    1. Orlane says:

      Loved your comment Daniel! Have a fabulous day

    2. CG says:

      Thank you for your advice, dear Daniel.
      I will take it to heart.
      Perhaps I already have been meditating without knowing it, just because I didn’t understand it?!


    3. Jennifer says:

      That is a perfect way to explain meditation. I use to be one of those people who said they couldn’t meditate. It took me a couple years to get what meditating is all about. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hnnoni says:

    Nice words

  8. Shreya Damani says:

    wow! its a great idea… i can imagine if we start doing this exercise we would know so many unknown intentions and intuitions. :) will try to do this!
    thanks alot for sharing this.

  9. Ane says:

    Hola Paulo, espero estes muy bien, ya no esta traducido al español,solo esta en ingles??

  10. Manish Rai says:

    wow Daniel ! awesome ! Bravo !!
    love and light !! keep it up !

  11. ZBK says:

    To be very true meditation without thinking about anything is not possible. You cannot have vacuum in your mind. The space needs to be filled in and one good way is to have “conscious attention” by exploring the most recent events and finding how differently a person could have reacted as we have no control on others Actions while a lot more control on our Reactions.
    Meditation practised by Muslims is by reciting different attributes of God (Allah-in arabic)
    Among the 99 different attributes, some can be closely translated as “The Most Merciful”, “The King (of all the galaxies/worlds), “The Advocate”, “The Friend”. By reciting this during meditation, it creates submission to the Greatest Power and by reminding yourself conciously that He-The Greatist is your best friend you draw strength to come out of the most difficult situations and heal yourself. Prayers 5 times a day is also a way of “conscious attention” when at short intervals one prays and assess what went wrong in the last interval.

  12. Daniel says:

    And this makes us stronger.

    here is my breath,
    the wake before my footsteps.

    I am man,
    in silent spaces,
    I create my story.

    A long road,
    I follow no other.

    without mistake.

    If in doubt remember;
    not making a choice,
    was still my decision.

    With love…

    1. CG says:

      Thank you for sharing your poem, dear Daniel.
      I really like it. It’s my “theme of this time”.

    2. Doug says:

      insightful, Thank you

  13. Manish Rai says:

    as always thank you Mr. paulo !!
    awesome post !

  14. Sandra says:

    Today I had a nice Humgarian dinner, I noticed I thought of my Dad that past away because the plant I visited is named ‘zenon” my dad just to take our family there when I was young.
    It now make think of my brother and sister ,

  15. Amali Briceño says:

    discipline… I’m working on my discipline, but sometimes I get confuse with routine…

  16. platypus says:

    absoloute quality x

  17. JESUS ​​MARIA says:

    nosetrata,,,,,de nosotros,,,sino de ellos,si hago zazen,lo hago para la humanidad,para encender mi faro,,,,,es hora,,,,de elevar nuestras vibracciones,,,,alas del universo,,,es hora de dejarse de tontadas,,yenviar nuestra luz ala luzes de luzes,,,,,,,

  18. vitor ourique de oliveira says:

    Hello! really fantastic! Thanks for helping to understand a little about life the universe that we

  19. Lily-Jan says:

    This “sign” came on the right moment ! Like more often this week on your FB page ! Coincidence ? ;o)
    Thanks Mr. Coelho

  20. Abhishek Purwar says:

    very much true…

  21. CG says:

    This morning I followed a sudden thought. It was a beautiful line of a poem (as I thought). And I wondered who the poet was. So I googled … and got a surprise!
    The line was the first one of the lyrics of the song “Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hört” of the german rockband “Novalis” ( from the 70s).
    It is really a wonderful text:

    Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hört,
    der weiß, wie Wolken schmecken,
    der wird im Mondschein
    ungestört von Furcht,
    die Nacht entdecken.

    Der wird zur Pflanze, wenn er will,
    zum Tier, zum Narr, zum Weisen,
    und kann in einer Stunde
    durchs ganze Weltall reisen.

    Er weiß, dass er nichts weiß,
    wie alle andern auch nichts wissen,
    nur weiß er was die anderen
    und er noch lernen müssen.

    Wer in sich fremde Ufer spürt,
    und Mut hat sich zu recken,
    der wird allmählich ungestört,
    von Furcht sich selbst entdecken.

    Abwärts zu den Gipfeln
    seiner selbst blickt er hinauf,
    den Kampf mit seiner Unterwelt,
    nimmt er gelassen auf.

    Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hört,
    der weiß wie Wolken schmecken,
    der wird im Mondschein,
    ungestört von Furcht,
    die Nacht entdecken.

    Der mit sich selbst in Frieden lebt,
    der wird genauso sterben,
    und ist selbst dann lebendiger,
    als alle seine Erben.

    Text: Carlo Karges
    Musik: Novalis

    I even tried an english translation, because I didn’t find one. I hope you will understand it, even if it’s not perfekt.

    Who hears the laughter of butterflies,
    knows how the clouds taste like.
    In the moonlight
    undisturbed by fear
    he will explore the night.

    He becomes a plant, if he wants,
    an animal, a fool, a wise man,
    and can in one hour
    travel through the whole universe.

    He knows that he knows nothing
    like all the others know nothing.
    Mere he knows what the others
    and he still have to learn.

    Who perceives foreign shores in himself
    and has the courage to expand,
    will gradually undisturbed
    by fear explore himself.

    Downward to the peaks
    of himself he looks up.
    The fight with his netherworld
    he takes up serene.

    Who hears the laughter of butterflies
    knows how the clouds taste like.
    In the moonlight
    undisturbed by fear
    he will explore the night.

    Who lives in peace with himself,
    will die just the same way.
    And even then he is livelier
    than all of his heirs.

    And who likes Rock of the 70s may try this:

    Hope you enjoy it.

    1. Sheela nandini says:

      I enjoyed that a LOT.Thank you,Claudia,for the English translation.Music is very welcome anyday!
      Butterflies, moonlight,clouds theme are more than perfect-anytime:)
      Finished reading Poems by Hafiz.Reading Don Juan now.


    2. CG says:

      :D It was a pleasure to me!

      It seems you are a “fast reader” like I am. I’m almost “eating” books with hardly a break.

      Love and Hugs,

    3. Sheela nandini says:

      Hafiz is not an easy read,Dear One:) Glad I can always go back and savour Him.

      Don Juan has been tossed aside for now.Beginning to think he is overrated;)

      What are you “eating”? Care to share?

      Love and hugs,

    4. CG says:

      Yes, I’m thinking of a blog to share more.

      I too tried a little Hafiz after you mentioned him. He “paints” nice pictures with his words!
      Concerning Don Juan: Well I always tried to get out of their ways. :)

    5. Heimo Kruschinski says:

      Yes i do! Pure Joy! Thank you very much dear Claudia!

      I wish you a wonderful night

    6. CG says:

      Well, after two more hours of listening to “old songs”, I had a really good night.

    7. Amali Briceño says:

      I like it! :D

    8. CG says:

      It was a pleasure to me.

  22. carmen alicia says:

    si logramos que cada actitud nuestra, cada acción y cada pensamiento fuera de manera reflexiva y pudiéramos mantenernos en una forma meditativa conscientes, nuestro mundo serí­a perfecto

  23. Amal Chaudhuri says:

    Attaining higher level of consciousness is possible only through regular disciplined exercise of mind towards that direction. It can be termed wisdom as well. The supreme understanding that nothing is new while apparently everything is changing continuously is a matter of deep realization and it is certainly much beyond the physicality of the events happening around. The degree of this very belief and spontaneous actions emanating from that in our daily chores differentiates humans with greater wisdom from the ones with less or without it.

  24. Maria Caixeiro says:

    Peí§o desculpa ,mas o meu comentário foi completa mente alterado pela traduí§í£o . Ní£o sei o que se passou!

  25. Zara says:

    We all have different conscious level as well as subconscious level. And its more important to be aware of our actions so as not to cause havoc in anyone’s life. In life, it is better to be attentive and much more better to think positively in whatever endeavors of ours. =)

  26. harleen says:

    I woke up this morning feeling nothing is going to work because everything in my life is at a stalemate but when I took a few minutes to meditate and just let it go, good things started to unfold.
    what you have written about conscious attention is truly amazing, I experienced it today.

  27. Irene says:

    Thank you. Obrigada.
    Your wisdom is a blessing to me.

  28. The Urban Rainmaker says:

    I watched to your adelf trailer, never mind tens minutes, i could be here a while with that ;)

    oh why 100 hits from your blog to mine? Paulo i quote in the book inspiration comes from yourself and the celestine prophecy, it was a journey and its not a fable, nopiracy issues.

    A prophet is not one who has the first idea, its the one that believes in it, had a cracking revelation last night, involves the el nino, made me think we always refer to it as god, whatever your religion, this is where we agree to disagree (for now) mother earth, anti fragile, could also be father earth the polar shift like the oyster changing sex, the el nino changing direction, the la nina, its language is that of it, not of a god, its own conciousness, this unversal consoiusness we are connected too, your thoughts, things are brewing, can feel it, curroption in the skys, pyramids falling, hmmmm, not negative, i wouldnt have written the book if i was…

  29. Maria Caixeiro says:

    Deve ser interessante agir e simultí¢neamente procurar razíµes para as nossas ací§íµes.É como observarmos do exterior a rotina dos nossos passos, para melhor entender e simultí¢neamente avaliar a nossa participaí§í£o na VIDA.MAS parece-me muito racional, muito definida a prática simples da-atení§í£o consciente, no entanto prometo experimentar para poder fazer uma avaliaí§í£o objectiva.Gosto muito de descobrir que« ní£o havia nenhuma razí£o para agir» e que Alguém, discretamente, me deve ter mostrado o Caminho!Paulo ,posso chamar-lhe «AMIGO»? Deixo-lhe um pequeno texto que lhe mostrará o meu pensamento, neste momento: « í€s vezes enchemo-nos de boa vontade e fazemos muitas coisas.Planeamos, executamos…e nada funciona.Talvez nos falte seguir as instruí§íµes de DEUS. Laní§ar as redes para o lado que Ele recomenda.É a sua presení§a, no meio de nós, ,que faz a diferení§a.Que é capaz de tornar uma noite trabalhosa e inútil numa rede cheia de peixe!!!Obrigada mais uma vez por me ajudar a pensar!!!

  30. Juvy Junasa says:

    I’ve been doing this for quiet a time now. But, lately i was so stressed out with everything that i forgot to do it. And my boyfriend complains for my being so negative. Thanks Paulo for reminding me of doing it. I realize that the more i get stressed out the more i should have do it to get to know the reason why i’m doing such things. More power to you Paulo. God bless you more!!!

  31. Me gusta la sinceridad cuando las palabras sobran para entenderla.El camino tiene que ser comun,aun a riesgo de quedarnos solos.

  32. Monika says:

    I write this comment here now simply to please you.

    Thank you for inspiration
    x Monika

  33. Kasush says:

    What if you have lost your intuition about normal daily things?

  34. Anna Petsorowo says:

    I call it intiution bc if I call it signs, them I am mentally ill. Specially in this western World who is very
    small small mentally to understand unconsious issues.
    Some people are seeing visions – and depending where they are the
    outside world is giving a diagnose about You.
    Why fortune-tellers are not sick by mentally and what about their customers?

  35. P. Antunes says:

    Ola Paulo, do you regularly practise this medidation exercise ?

  36. Alexander Smith says:

    Indeed our emphasis should not be on concentration, but on attention. Concentration is a process of forcing the mind to narrow down to a point, whereas attention is without frontiers

  37. Doris says:

    to me intuition, signs, instinct, coincidence, conscious attention and meditation are connected. all is connected, but different things.

    buddha called a thought-exercise conscious attention?

  38. thanx dear!paulo coelho.your books inspires me a lot in every stage& now this conscious attention exercises& refreshes ma mind.

  39. Joy A. says:

    Thank you for this Mr. Coelho. Such an enlightenment for everbody. God bless!

  40. Ocampo Margarita says:

    hoy soy consciente de cada minuto de mi existencia y de los dones que me ha permitido descubrir en mi ser (Fe,espiritualidad,intuicií²n, visií²n, fuerza, energia y lo principal el amor).bendiciones. Paulo

  41. Devemos manter nossa janela mental iluminada com energia de pensamentos positivos. Sabemos que ní£o é tí£o simples assim, as dificuldades diárias nos impossibilitam de alimentarmos nossa mente com coisas produtivas. Já estamos habituados a exercer a funí§í£o negatividade antes mesmo de nos darmos conta das inúmeras possibilidades de acertos. Cultivar passo a passo o sim, é uma tarefa árdua, mas se contí­nua poderá exercer a lei de atraí§í£o, e sendo assim os resultados serí£o benéficos. Para meditar ní£o é necessário que fiquemos longe de nossas atividades diárias, podemos comeí§ar apenas com alguns minutos, e com o passar do tempo teremos adquiridos a fórmula simples de nos conectarmos com o cosmo

  42. Nadia says:

    Thank you for this. The universe brought you and this to me today just as I needed it. Amazing is life… I will try to work on staying conscious. Many thanks

  43. MARIELA says:

    gracias ….una bella reflxion…..

  44. coolguy1609 says:

    …& it is this same conscious attention with which we should experience life for what you remember to tell is what you lived and what you forget never happened!


  45. Rohan chalmers says:

    This exercise can be taken one step further if you think in the third person also. To say he/she about yourself really allows us to look in at ourselves from outside looking in rather than always inside looking out. Take a look at yourself from the sky; imagine having the mind to sustain it for a day. What potential!

  46. deval says:

    i read this, and decide to get rid of my old bad habit :)

  47. Michael Silk says:

    Intelligence has no Pity.

    The intelligence of man has been corrupted by his personal relations to experience. Caught up in feelings, he derives to escape the reality of the situation by rationalisation and justification that will suit his conscience. Man has evolved into a weakened creature whose mind does not like to be shamed.

    Shame is ‘Judgement’. Losing his true intelligence, man lives in constant judgement of all he sees, not realising the comparison he uses is himself. Upon facing his own lacking he is shamed by his inadequacies and must turn to pity to hide from it.

    A man still in touch with his intelligence does not show pity for he knows it only brings suffering. This man will be seen to condescend other men, in his ‘supposed’ lack of care, treating them as if they are mere animals. This is not condescension, this is understanding. For it is only the man lacking in understanding that sees animals as lower than he and feels he deserves to be treated better than another living thing, which is an indication of a desire to be pitied.

    The truth does not show pity, for the truth knows this causes only suffering. For once pity is recognised all involved must suffer from the pain, taking on the shame of it to inevitably remove all joy out of the relationship and mar it with pride.

    The pride, once affected, does not have the capacity to determine help from hindrance but rather turns against the giver of pity to hide from itself. It becomes vengeful, eating away the man from the inside, forcing him to take action against the perpetrator to free himself regardless of the intentions of the giver. So pain becomes the gift to the giver.

    A giver then, causes more damage by being the giver, for giving to one who has no return gift will cause trouble to the conscience of the receiver. This will turn the thoughts petty to save themselves from the guilt over the acceptance of the gift. A person who has nothing to give does not deserve pity for it is the indulgence in pity that has led them to the circumstances of a petty mind. For it is only a petty mind that has nothing to offer in return for intelligence.

    It is therefore imperative that an intelligent mind learns to implement the truth, not just realise it within itself. Pity is of no benefit; it is not a true gift. The true gift is to have the courage to show the lesson in the experience, to help others understand without giving in and becoming their weaknesses.

    Intelligence must use reality to free the petty mind over time. It is not true to reinforce the suffering with pity, for then you are leaving man lost on a sea that has no end, destined to the up and down cycle of the tide that we now call life. Understand this so your intelligence is not in vain, use it to stop the suffering of man, for you too are man.

    True love sits higher than pity and therefore does not give in to the weakness of others but guides them with the truth so as to break the conditioning that wreaks havoc on the human species. Do not pity for then you become pity, not truth, not love, not intelligence. Help others to see what it is that they do to themselves, not what others do to them. Teach them to forgive themselves as you forgive. Let intelligence be the guide of the future, see the truth in what I speak so that man can alter his involvement to one of truth.

    Destructive Forces of Culture

    Man, as he has come to evolve, is the greatest poverty to have ever lived. Bound by the lies that his culture has named reality, deprived of the truth that lay in front of him. Culture is a conditioning that limits what it is acceptable to see, leading to a denial of all that is real.

    All that is real now holds man in fear, in fear of his own nature, in fear of all that is true. So as not to see, man puts on his mask, hiding from others and denying his true self. Living a farce to fit into the mould that has been cast for acceptance, man is no longer able to recognise his own needs let alone have respect for another’s.

    Every thought is now controlled by what is expected, scared of the unfamiliar, unable to function from ones own intelligence. Doomed to a collective consciousness that dictates who he should be, lost to the wind beneath his wings. Living from a mind that has all capacity yet has been set on automatic, leaving it unfruitful and bland: The walking dead.

    All longing lost to the past, all fulfillment long buried by the need for security, the need for the known. Culture is the known; culture is mans destruction. Set ways that must be followed, rules that must be adhered to, perishing all that is good, killing all that is true. Whilst living from cultures conditioning man is lost to everything because he is lost to himself.

    Only an intelligent mind can take true action in the moment. An intelligent mind holds no conditioning; an intelligent mind seeks a natural understanding of all things. It looks inward, to itself, for the answers, it is aware of its true home. Not being conditioned by the acquisition of recognition it is able to face the truth in all encounters.

    Man can find the truth if he is willing to see, willing to endure. One must have experienced enough pain to break through cultures conditioning; one must see the truth behind the lie. Man needs to look through untainted eyes, turn back to the innocence he was before the corruption of his true intelligence took place. Be as a child, embrace the undiscovered, take on the new. For only in no knowing can man walk free.

    Eternal Redemption

    Whole man does not need redemption, redemption is for the crippled man who has an abundance of worldly things but lacks that which is necessary: understanding. He who is caught in the never ending cycle of trying to convince all that he is right or has done right. Man is now fragmented, unable to see through the lies he enforce upon himself.

    Not accepting ones own nature is what drives the need for redemption. Constantly seeking approval and acceptance man continually makes excuses for himself. He becomes a prisoner to his own will, continually needing redemption to escape from the fact that everything he does is for his own needs. To hide from his guilt over this he will try to do good deeds for others, not seeing that even this is for his own conscience, his own redemption.

    ‘Will’ is what man thinks will free him from this cycle, not realising that it is the very thing that binds him when things don’t turn out the way he would like them. This serves to lock man up in guilt over what has happened and cannot now be altered. He is then taken over with ill temper and becomes vengeful through his own creation that didn’t go as he pleased.
    Trying to escape this suffering, man turns to punishment. Naively believing that the guilt of his actions can be overcome through a separate act. No deed can be annihilated or undone through another, for then redemption will be needed to overcome the punishment of the previous redemption, which leads to eternal redemption. Redemption is recurring and can only be overcome through the understanding of this.

    Redemption is not feigning a good conscience for yourself through a lie, redemption is taking responsibility for all action as it happens. True redemption is not a cycle of right and wrong judgement it is understanding every moment so as you can determine necessary action. Hence leaving no need for redemption.

    ~Michael Silk~

  48. HECTOR says:


  49. andrea says:

    An inspiring thoughts that made me realized that I need to have more dicipline in all the things that Im doing. Im in a stage of my life where Im searching for my life purpose with on wished to find that real happiness which longed for a quite sometimes. I want fulfilment in my my life which I believe in will be for my happiness. I travelled in many places to llok for that but until now im still am empty vessel which hopes for the time to be fill in of such longing.