"Attention training swaps your tendency to ruminate on the what-ifs with the splendor of the here and now. You become mentally and physically present in the same space. This congruence springs from the recognition that the present moment is novel and meaningful just as it is. When you intentionally focus your attention, you are in charge of your experience. You set a path toward greater joy, success and fulfillment.

"Trained attention is:
• Focused
• Relaxed
• Compassionate
• Nonjudgmental
• Sustained
• Deep
• Intentional

"Each of these attributes strengthens the other. With practice, you experience the world in its full magnificence, immersing all your senses in it; an ordinary meal becomes a feast, a drive home, a mini-vacation; meeting your parents, a day of Thanksgiving. You squeeze more joy out of life.

"Two helpful perspectives that enhance attention are the realization of transience and the practice of acceptance. Transience reminds you that if your daughter is 15, you have only about 1,000 evenings before she goes off to college. You have a choice — spend time with the ruminative self or savor your daughter's presence, knowing that each day with her is precious.

"(Acceptance helps me recognize that I am exceptionally gifted in finding fault with others. My fault detector costs me a thousand moments of joy each day. I can try to change others or accept them as they are. The former will be exhausting, frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful; the latter, life enriching, relationship enhancing and peace giving.)

"Attention training progresses in two phases, train it and sustain it. Driving, swimming, cycling, cooking — every skill you learn requires an initial, committed effort; with time, your finesse deepens until the activity eventually becomes effortless. The same applies to training your attention. Initially the practice takes some effort, but ultimately becomes effortless.

"As your attention skills mature, life becomes anything but ordinary. Instead of forming snap judgments, you develop compassionate attention. Objects and people become more interesting and meaningful. You understand that everyone has black holes and open files. You treat yourself and the world with greater kindness and love. You feel lighter and think more clearly. You laugh more, may find yourself spontaneously humming and develop greater creativity. As you progress, the need for daily practice fades. You become one with peace and joy."