Monday 28 January 2013

Attention is a gift.

I've come to realize that the label "individual" doesn't mean "one". A human being is a concentration of attention, emanating not only from family, friends and community, but also from the spiritual realm.

You look at people who fascinate you. You listen to those you admire. You gaze into the eyes of those you love. You touch those who are in your field of intimacy. Your attention reflects a bigger pattern of attention.

To speak of "God" is too glib. Neither words nor concepts can ever matchbox dynamite. Soup-bowls at the bottom of the Victoria Falls would be smashed rather than contain the flow in any way.

Yet, we are given God's full attention. This forms within and and is expressed through character: sensitivities, actions, decisions, growth of conscience.

Conscience was emphasized when I was a child: I grew up greatly influenced by exhortation to conscientious living. Along the way I've learnt that knowing the difference between right and wrong isn't the whole of conscience. Growth in consciousness and formation of conscience are almost the same thing. For a long time I focused on achieving dogmatic purity because that was the call that my tribe laid upon me. I learnt that intellect, emotive insistence and commitment reached by active decision can't really be summed up dogmatically. What we say in words is communicated by that which flows through us, and an attentive awareness will soon recognize the strength, direction and effect of that which flows through us.

In a word, the Holy Spirit flows through us, if we allow and co-operate. Yet we tend to get too solid with thoughts, perceptions, blockades of belief, using our very gift of awareness to limit growth of conscience. We become self-oriented. We get greedy. We are fearful of losing family, of being rejected by the tribe. We dwell on pleasures.

In the world of industry, commerce and business we don't speak of the Holy Spirit. We speak of EQ, NLP, coaching and mentoring, and a variety of strategies to invest in human capital. There are so many solutions that choosing one can become a problem in itself. Here's a short cut: appreciate the gift of attention by slowing it down to feel, sense and acknowledge the sense of presence that attention provides. That sense of presence is mysterious because you will soon learn that more than you is present, if you keep on attending.

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