Saturday, October 27, 2012

Like a Lover

I've mentioned before that the word attention is derived from the Latin attendere, to stretch — hence, to reach towards something. And it makes some sense. After all, if I wish to pay attention, I am reaching towards the reality of my life. The action, already, implies that I know I don't live within the reality of my life; I am not inhabiting life. So attention functionally begins with an awareness of a lack; this new awareness of myself is implicit in the effort.

Attention acknowledges within the fact of its existence that a reaching needs to take place, an effort towards relationship.

But what is this attention that I seek? Am I supposed to strive, to push? It's not clear.

 So perhaps I can think of it in a new way, a different way. Maybe attention is an intimacy with myself. Everyone has had a moment in their lives, I think, where we were with a lover — perhaps we can remember the first time, or perhaps any time. In any event, let's use the imagination... let's remember.

There is an extraordinary moment between lovers where it seems as though every molecule in the body has a wish to move towards the other, to be one with the loved one, and a tenderness arises that has no equal or parallel. An organic sensation that leans gently, lovingly, tenderly in the direction of the loved one, anticipating that to embrace, to touch, would be a miraculous event.

And indeed it is.

There is an inner part in me that is also a lover of a different kind. It has an equal need for my attention; and to come into contact with it could be just as rewarding, just as miraculous. Maybe I don't know about this part; or maybe I have tasted it, or caught a whiff of it here and there when I saw something quite remarkable around me, perhaps something simple, which nonetheless told me that there is something other than the ordinary going on at every moment. In any event, there is this part that I might reach towards. Gently, quietly, with great sensitivity — could reaching of this kind be a new attention?

 This kind of reaching, this kind of attention, begins in me with an enormous sympathy towards myself. There is no fear; there is no perjury of the kind of that I usually inflict upon myself. There is simply me, with myself, seeing the sensitivity that arises within Being. And I reach out towards it — carefully, gently, perhaps tentatively, but I reach out to come into relationship with it. And I find that it is receptive.

This intimate and innermost part is available. It's a real thing. Or, rather, a real event, since calling it a thing falls far short of its existence as a phenomenon. Yet I can only respond when it comes; for this lover is shy, she does not yield her charms to just anyone or at any time. She is always there, and she always loves me; yet she will not traffic with the coarseness that I usually bring to my life. There is a refinement to her; perhaps even a sacred quality. I need to respect that.

So I need to reach like a lover towards myself, with that active sensitivity, that trembling preparation for a touch, a brush of the lips.

I respectfully hope you will take good care.

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