Off Scan 

“We have eyes yet see not, ears yet hear not” – Jason Silva

“Look at me daddy”, my son placed the last block on his tower. An epic tower at that, nearly as tall as him.

I responded with a quick “yeah, bud, I am looking”, as I pointed my gaze toward the colorful block tower before me.

“You’re not looking right, daddy” he now said with a scornful tone. Until this moment I never knew I could look at someone “wrong” unless I was picking a bar fight in a seedy drinking hole. But, my four-year-old old son had a point. I wasn’t looking at him “right”. My mind had wandered. He knew that although my eyes were pointed at his direction, I wasn’t seeing. Seeing goes beyond being physically present. Where then was my mind?

Information Overload

It all pulls for our attention: bills, work, that social media post and everything else our mind scans through every moment. Experiences around us seem like white noise as we scan through the channels. We may be “there”, but our minds are in a distant place. Thoughts switching rapidly, no time to see.

We experience our world with anxiety for the future and regret for the past. The present is left to be experienced through photos, social media posts, video and maybe a souvenir. Life lived as an anticipated memory, as Jason Silva once said. To be “present”. To be “mindful”. Words seen more often on bumper stickers and home decor than in our minds. When they should be hard wired.

So, how do we come off scan mode? How do we live in the present, clear our minds in order to take in what is really important? Well, I don’t really have that answer. If I did, I myself would not miss another moment; however, I believe focus is a start.

Focus on What is in Front of You

Focus on what we are doing at that time. As in martial arts, your Kime (focus),  we concentrate on each technique, each punchThe focus when weight training. The knurled grip between your hands, gravities pull as the weight ascends from the ground. This is focus in training. It’s the focus required to truly take in those life moments. Everything is cleared, you are able to take in that moment without a need to photograph it, video it, or post it. You experience it. You’re present. All you need is right in front of you. It’s happening, it won’t last, don’t miss it.

“Where the hours go slow and the beauty we know, it’s a love, that is the key”- Chuck Ragan

One Channel at a Time

With focus we need to be on one channel at a time, which can prove difficult. This may mean we take our smart phone out of the equation. Leave it on the counter or in another room (tip: crank up the volume so you can hear it ring). Turn off the news or sports game. Catch up on your fantasy football league later. Take all the objects that pull for your attention out, so you can focus on what is before you. There will come a time to focus on those other elements of your life, now focus on just this one.

Now I understand what my son meant by not looking at him “right”. Sometimes our kids can be much more observant than us knuckle-dragging dads. We aren’t fooling them. Focus on those moments, take them in. They won’t be little guys forever. Photos and videos will not do those moments justice. Be present. Be mindful. Come off scan.

About the Author: Efren is a father of two boys. He is a police officer outside of Chicago. He is also a personal trainer and student of Jiu Jitsu.

5 thoughts on “Off Scan 

  1. Good Morning and Thank you for this excellent article to start my day off with. Its Spot-On. There are so many things in our lives howling for our attention and most of them are absolutely meaningless in the context of our real lives our real selves..
    Off-Scan is a Great way to think of it. Just turn off the nonsense. and get used to the fact that your not going to miss anything. What’s really Important is what’s right in front of you….Its an exercise of the will…Like any other you have concentrate on it and allow it to happen.. TRAINING….like Yoga has helped me immensely to “Quiet my Mind”

    That Focus of thought brings a sharpness to the world around you..

    What a Great Article to start off a Fantastic week ahead.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. People look at me funny when I tell them I only want to work part time at my job. I’ve put in the 120 hour weeks sleeping 4 hours a day in spurts and being all about making money and being gung ho for the company in my past. But where does that leave your life? working yourself to death? In the end was it worth my mental health, HELL NO.

    I have a good friend that I’m sure is going to do just that, he’s got all the toys, the fancy house and yes he has 5 kids he has to support, but they don’t need another new ATV or vehicle, to kill yourself working 7 days a week 18 hours a day, at what cost to his mental heath along with his physical heath.

    Now I don’t have new cars, a fancy house, kids (grand kids) that require me to work hard long hours. I’ve reduced my cost of living to do just that. A job gives me purpose, money and someone obviously needs me to do it, but not to be a slave to it.

    People wonder why i still have a dumb ol flip phone, I have learned to unplug and enjoy life more.
    I don’t have a radio on my motorcycle. Why, you have enough the world around you to concentrate on and enjoy. Relax, enjoy the sound of your buddy’s bike, smell the air, look at the clouds, trees, grass, cows, the road ahead, feel the bike, feel the road, ENJOY the ride.

    OFF-SCAN and UN-PLUG your life, TRUST ME you’ll enjoy it more. It took me YEARS to learn how to do it and still be happy. I’m almost there. work to live, don’t live to work. TWK

    Thanks again Efren, your point is spot-on as usual, you are wise far beyond your years young man.

    Liked by 1 person

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