62. There are two kinds of attention – Horizontal and Vertical.
63. Horizontal attention is when you scan the world from left to right or from right to left, back and forth, up and down, from corner to corner. But it’s not really about the direction…
64. Horizontal attention is panoramic but superficial: you notice a lot but you don’t really understand a lot.
65. Horizontal attention is when you try to take it All in. And when you notice Everything you react to Everything. Horizontal attention comes with hyper-reactivity and hyper-activity.
66. Vertical attention is different: vertical attention is when you go deeply into one thing.
67. Vertical attention is when you nose-dive into the pool of the Unknown, when study the object by “going” inside it. Whereas horizontal attention busies itself with the objects, the vertical attention is interested in the subjectivity of the objects that it notices.
68. Vertical attention is when you go beyond just noticing “this” or “that.”
69. Vertical attention is when you stop just noticing and start merging. Unlike horizontal attention which is wide, vertical attention is narrow and one-pointed.
70. When you stop noticing and start merging, you disappear into a thing.
71. When you stop scanning and start disappearing into a thing, you become this thing.
72. You become the thing you are paying attention to. You tunnel into it. You drill into it. You identify with it. And that’s how you understand it – from within! (But you already know this: if you have the so-called “attention deficit,” then in addition to your distractibility you also have the so-called “hyper-focus.”
Hyper-focus is when you go vertical, when you drop so deeply and quickly into a stimulus that you get totally lost in it. Why does that happen? Why do you get so infatuated now and then with a random object? It’s because you are starved for love. In your years of “hyper-scanning” the environment you have remained defensively detached and on the cognitive run from your context. So, when you suddenly and accidentally relax, you cliff-dive from horizontal to vertical… and get blissfully lost. Learning to consciously and intentionally switch from horizontal to vertical will help you keep a better balance between staying safe and staying connected.)
73. To sum up: vertical attention is mindfulness, vertical attention is intimacy, vertical attention is love.
“Attention Surplus: Rethinking ADD” (P. Somov, 2012)
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Last reviewed: 18 May 2012