Last week I repaired* one of my guitars. The bridge was pulling off my Aria, so I removed it and re-glued it. After I removed the bridge I cleaned up some jagged edges on the varnish with a razor blade. I was concentrating on cutting crisp and straight lines, trying to make my cuts to just the right depth.
My hand got slippery as I worked. I thought I was sweating. Drops fell onto my guitar. Finally a drop fell directly where I working. That’s not sweat, that’s blood. Then I looked at my hand and my guitar. A lot of blood! It turns out I was slicing the side of my middle finger repeatedly with the back part of the razor as I worked. The cuts were very clean and just deep enough to draw blood. And so my hand was red, as was a large part of the surface of my guitar where I had been resting my hand. My focus had left me completely unaware until the blood entered my workspace. With awareness came the realization that a sharp stinging existed in my finger.
So I cleaned up the guitar and my hand, and then I adjusted my cutting technique. And I thought about the concentration that led to this situation.
Many times regard for an issue may lead to disregard in other aspects of life. I notice this when I get caught up in my field research. On days when I am setting up experiments I usually eat very little. Food is forgotten. I bring granola bars and fruit in case I start to get weak (some long days in the field are rather demanding), and when I eat them I find it impossible to stop working and sit still. At the end of the day food sounds wonderful again and I make up the lost calories. This type of regard and disregard does not bother me.
In life the goal is to be aware of situations where unawareness is introduced in the name of concentration. This is much easier to acknowledge than it is to achieve.
* I say repaired, but I have not had a chance to test the guitar yet, so I might have done more damage than good.