I am where my attention is.
How to close the gap between what we think and what we feel? How do we come to know our deepest aspirations and intentions in the midst of welter of large and small actions and reactions that fill an ordinary day? A little while ago, I received a comment from someone (who was clearly familiar with the Gurdjieff ideas and work) suggesting that the difference between a feeling from another level and our ordinary egocentric emotions (as grandiose as those can be) is the questioning that can come in its wake…a questioning that wakes us up: How can I be responsible? Sometimes (certainly in my case) it gets framed as: What have I been doing with my life?
A few days later, this same person quoted from Exchanges Within by the brilliant student of Gurdjieff, Lord John Pentland: “Sensation is the relating element. How do you feel what you think or think what you feel? It is through sensation.”
How do we go about this? Tear your nose away from that proverbial grindstone, peel your eyes away from the screen, pull your poor, worried addictive mind away from its current desire and pay attention to what is left in that wake, experience desire as desire, experience your life. Attention can be magic. It can unlock the secrets of life.
To demonstrate, here is a wonderful passage from a story the great contemporary writer, Lorrie Moore: “O.K.,” I said. “Sounds good.” Sounds good. It was the Midwestern girl’s reply to everything. It appeared to clinch a deal, was somewhat the same as the more soldierly Good to go, except that it was promiseless–mere affirmative description. It got you away, out the door.”
Attention can reveal the unexpected depths in seemingly ordinary things.
- Tracy Cochran, Parabola Editor Blogs