“Not a drop, not a tear, not a gesture, not a feeling is wasted. The net of God’s reign takes everything in” – A spiritual principle for seeking discernment
I have a coaching secret. I encourage clients NOT to place their attention too closely on the way they pay attention. It sounds oxymoronic, but you gain more self-awareness by being less self-aware … at least when it comes to attention and focus.
In the last couple of posts, I have looked at one of the four human endowments: self-awareness. The root image for self-awareness is the serpent devouring its tail (or the Uroborus). This image points to how we gain awareness through experience. And there are really two types of self-awareness: 1. the “truth-that-our-experience-teaches” which increases our awareness of “the-game-we’re-in” … that is, our awareness whatever is happening right now, and 2. the “impact-of-our-truth” which shows us how we limit our awareness by being faithful to a single idea or purpose. Both types of self-awareness are important. One expands and becomes bigger (#1) while the other balances and limits (#2).
(For more, see …transcend and include…).
Since many things could potentially command our attention, we often feel pulled in several directions at once. Therefore, we have difficulty placing our awareness on what we truly want to do. A competition erupts around what to do next: go left; go right; look up; look down. Eventually, we realize we really are dependent – dependent on some method for organizing and focusing our attention, and we are often very unclear about how best to go about managing our awareness. So here’s where that coaching secret comes into play.
Being dependent on our awareness doesn’t mean that we let it run away with us. A better approach would be to hold our awareness lightly. Give it enough space so it can unfold as it meets the unknown. Attention and focus need the guidance of awareness but we cannot allow ourselves to get wrapped up in what we pay attention to. That’s really what being “mindful” means: holding our awareness lightly so you can share it with the unknown, share it with the very next thing that happens.
Remember the three commands: Choose, Respond and Change? (See …choose, respond, change… or …choose, respond, change (part two)… ) That’s really a recipe for being mindful with your attention. And, as hard as it is … to share awareness with the unknown, that’s really how we become centered, grounded and placed in the here-and-now, in the current moment, in the unfolding of whatever happens next.
And holding our awareness lightly is especially important with that final command: “Change.” For then, it becomes a measure of character, a measure of how comfortably we can balance courage with consideration … freedom with purpose … desire with commitment. It demonstrates a willingness to be both open and curious even when we have a specific agenda that is holding our focus and attention.
I know it sounds easy: Sharing our dependence, making room for the unknown, holding awareness lightly … but don’t be deceived. Awareness is the essence of who we are. And it is very hard not be attached, or invested or self-interested. Keep in mind not a drop, not a tear, not a gesture, not a feeling is wasted. Even when our awareness brings despair, desperation, or disappointment … we can always try again, we can always bring forth the renewal that grants us some new discernment about who we really want to be … about the future we want to realize.
Thanks for listening!