Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson:
“Attention is not a faculty of the mind, but is instead the focusing of the consciousness upon one object to the temporary exclusion of all other objects. It is a turning of the mind on an object. The object of attention may be either external, such as a person or thing; or internal, such as a feeling, thought, memory, or idea.
Attention may be either voluntary, that is, directed consciously by the will; or involuntary, that is, directed unconsciously and instinctively and apparently independently of the will. Voluntary attention is an acquired and developed power and is the attribute of the thinker, student and intellectual individual in all walks of life. Involuntary attention, on the contrary, is but little more than a reflex action, or a nervous response to some stimulus.
As Halleck says: “Many persons scarcely get beyond the reflex stage. Any chance stimulus will take their attention away from their studies or their business.”
Sir William Hamilton made a still finer distinction, which is, however, generally overlooked by writers on the subject, but which is scientifically correct and which we shall follow in this book. He holds that there are three degrees or kinds of attention:
(1) the reflex or involuntary, which is instinctive in nature;
(2) that determined by desire or feeling, which partakes of both the involuntary and voluntary nature, and which although partly instinctive may be resisted by the will under the influence of the judgment; and
(3) that determined by deliberate volition in response to reason, as in study, scientific games, rational deliberation, etc.”
The study and practice of attention and concentration is one of the most useful you can do in terms of magnetism and your whole life. It’s the one mental activity that influences everything you do in life, so it’s only natural that Atkinson kept referring to it in every book he has written.
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