Needless to say that, from our earliest childhood, Nurturing Attention to what IS a little like a note of caution.
A sort of injunction to concentrate. To concentrate on what we are doing or what is happening in our immediate surroundings, under the threat of punishment. Seen in this light, it is not really an invitation to a spiritual exercise or a dance of Consciousness!
Clear the path to consciousness:
However, Nurturing Attention to what IS is one of the cornerstones of Meditation. In fact, to turn our attention towards our inner temple, we must just clear the way.
It is not a question of laying the path bare and removing every obstacle on the way, you simply take the path as it is. Without any particular expectation or precise aim, as if the path were the aim in itself! Contrary to what we learnt as children, Nurturing Attention does not require an effort of willpower to focus our attention on an object, no matter what it is.
A Yin posture
There is no need to strain yourself to nurture attention. There is nothing to achieve. It is not a mechanical posture. It is a posture which is open and welcoming to the multitude of subtle reality planes that we perceive and which overlap in our own field of consciousness. It is more of a Yin than a Yang posture. It is, therefore, not a contraction, but a dilation of spirit and heart. And the mind is not a welcome guest.
Celebrate perception and feeling:
Sit in silence...relax your gaze to soothe the mind...at the heart of this silence, observe freely whatever emerges. Do not pin your attention to anything, but follow the gentleness of your breathing... Little by little, the ego also becomes silent...the presence emerges and the ego perceives this: something is there, something calm and far vaster.
The path then opens up, free of any conflict, there is nothing to ‘take’ and nothing to ‘abandon’. Time is altered, past, present and future merge as if the matter of time itself has dissolved. Our senses are heightened. Our perceptions grow lighter, from the weight of our body as a force, to the levels of subtle consciousness, where neither words nor images have any real hold.
How to relax your gaze to contemplate what IS.
The question of gaze is essential to attention. We must accept to walk this path bare-footed. We leave behind our old sandals which always guide us on unfamiliar ground: assessing, measuring, judging and classifying...in order to leave the shore of this relation to oneself and the world, here is a small practical exercise to relax your gaze and open up to the unexpected:
- 1. Sit in a calm and comfortable place. Close your eyes.
- 2. Rub the palms of your hands together until they feel warm.
- 3. Make a nest with your hands.
- 4. Place your hands on your closed eyelids (light must not pass through)
- 5. When you feel the heat spreading to your eyes, gently open them.
- 6. Relax your gaze as if you could see everything without an effort, without turning your gaze to anything in particular. Contemplate what is happening inside you at this moment; your mind remains at the background of this experience.
- 7. If you have a crystal singing bowl, raise its vibratory spiral. Let the sounds amplify this reality of the moment.
- 8. Enjoy and internally approve of this perception.
Attention is energy:
If Nurturing Attention is not just what we learnt as young children, then what is it?
Attention is a quality of energy.
A quality of presence to what we experience in our daily lives. A way of being affected by the movements of life, by observing what happens, both within us and outside us. It is not that we are ‘cut off’ from the world of immediate and more or less conditioned feelings, it is that we are a little more detached, in terms of equanimity. The acceptance of what is.
Placing our attention on the world of our thoughts, our emotions or our habitual behaviour. Observing clearly the play which forms between these 3 worlds. The simple fact of placing our attention on this trio will take away some of its vivacity. Thought, for example, does not like to be watched!
The quality of the energy that makes you will change...and if you take this path bare-footed, you will likely gain in love, gratitude, tolerance and acceptance...in the One consciousness, of what IS.