Meditation Articles Series

Meditation helps Attentional Blink

Meditation helps Attentional Blink and prevents us missing what’s going on with those we care about.

You may well ask , “What is attentional blink?” I had no idea myself until I came across an article written in the March edition of the Oprah Magazine by Tim Jarvis.

Apparently attentional blink is a brain glitch which occurs in certain circumstances when, for a split second, “we literally become unconscious of what might be happening right in front of us”, says Richard Davidson, PhD, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That is the reason why so often we may think our partner’s self absorption is selfish when we are visibly upset about something.

However, Davidson’s latest research showed that three months of intensive vipassana – or insight – meditation significantly reduced attentional blink. “Vipassana increases awareness of one’s surroundings in a nonjudgmental, nonreactive way,” Davidson says, but he believes any kind of meditation, even 20 minutes a day, could make spouses better at reading each other’s subtleties.

Davidson recommends starting with a simple meditation of focusing on your breath; when your mind wanders, notice how it’s distracted, and come back to your breathing.”

With meditation I keep stressing that it needs to be done consistently for it to be effective. So if you want to be more present and less judgmental with your spouse and avoid “attentional blink” consider learning to meditate. If you are already doing a meditation practice perhaps you could invite your partner or spouse to meditate as well.

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