Think about where your attention goes when you're not doing something that requires full concentration. Do you make a conscious decision about what to pay attention to? Sometimes, yes, but usually it seems more like the reverse: attention snaps involuntarily from subject to subject and your conscious mind simply begins thinking about whatever has been placed before it. This feels normal because it's been happening all our lives, but it also seems quite strange—what is this thing leading consciousness around as if on a leash?

Learning to notice these moment-by-moment shifts in attention, and how difficult they are to control, is one of the main practical benefits of mindfulness meditation. But learning to concentrate on the meditation cushion has limited carryover to everyday life, so what more can be done?

Further reading