It is a soft and grey Sunday afternoon. The cars creep slowly over the bridge in Biscay Bay, Newfoundland. A sea concerto rumbles and rolls into itself as the white ramshackle houses stare blankly at one another. A warm wind blows and the tall grass comes alive for a moment. What is here? Can I be open to receive these gifts of impressions around me instead of continually going out towards them? I need to recognize another quality that is always here. I can’t do it, I need to see how I am, this moment. Repeatedly my attention moves outward, like a yo-yo. If it goes too far, the string will break and I will lose the thread. Like a thirsty traveler, I need to keep coming back to the bar.
The forces of life are like waves on a beach, continually contracting and expanding. It is a collection as well as a dispersion, just like this mysterious property of one’s attention. I need a strong sense of an inner life. It’s like a new center of gravity is required, that is not just my head a thinking in me, that can stay in front of these forces and not be taken–to just see. I need to make a demand on myself to see how I am, here and now, in front of this person or this task. Without an intention (in-tension) I see that I am continually taken by outer or inner manifestations. Something needs to be called. I need to connect to a wish to listen to life–to be wholly engaged and not simply just passive. The dance of life never ceases with its music, voices and movement. If I am asleep to this mystery, I am lost in dreams and life seems as flat as pavement, where in reality everything is new all the time. What is needed? To simply let things be as they are. The sun doesn’t care who it shines on. Energy is impartial. You are moving with a certain atmosphere, blending within and without. Simply breathe and watch without interfering. Just Be. In this way, I think it may be possible to absorb the whole world.
(Photograph: Rex Dupain, “Big Breaker,” 1954)