It is a mid-spring afternoon, the weather playing a temperamental mixture of sun and clouds, the newly sprouted leaves dancing in the breeze, the apple blossoms heavy and the bees taking it all in. The geese are joyful making their journeys and it feels like we have a bird sanctuary in our backyard 🙂 I love the lilacs this time of the year, their heavenly scent wafting through the breeze. It all has the magical effect of calming me down.
I have been thinking recently of attention and the art of being present. I often beat myself up when I’m not paying attention, and sometimes, I try very hard to pay attention, and the effort feels heavy and pressured. And I know neither of them is really the wise attention the teachers talk about. Wise attention is relaxed without being heavy, and it is never supposed to be yet another thing to judge ourselves by!
Yet again, it is Anjali, my eight month old, who teaches me how joyful and effortless paying attention really is. She scans the floor in front of her, broadly, and then narrows in on an object of focus. She examines her object of attention with great detail. And then, after a while, she naturally broadens her field of attention again. In all of this, there are naturally moments when she gets lost, like she is somewhere else. When she comes back, it is very graceful like it never happened. And I can’t help thinking, paying attention is really that simple. When we are not paying attention, and we come back, we simply start over again. Just like that. And our field changes and broadens and narrows, going through a natural rhythm. It’s all something we already know, we have always known. We just have to trust it. And as we start to do this, we start to recognize the contentment that children know naturally.
May we bring wise attention into our lives,