The first subtle separation we experience in our life before we face “tall and short” “black and white” “man and woman” is the simple and subtle separation of subject and object - the “I am” and the “I am that”.
So coming to the subject of attention, from my (Artemis) own contemplations and non-dual perspective, it is a tool that the subject has which connects it with object.
We can sharpen it or we can pay no mind to it. If we pay no attention to attention, it will have complete control over us. It will say “we need to go left” “we need to go right” “I can’t make a decision” and we have no intention in it, failing to recognize that it is our tool, as an “I”, that we can use.
We start to see through practices such as yoga, prayer, or meditation, that we can actually make a choice as to where we place our attention. Speaking in terms of meditation, we choose to focus our attention on the object: the mantra, the candle flame, the heart, the breath, the silence, whatever the practice might be.
As we sharpen attention, in time, we start to feel that we have more power in our lives, we’re not at the whims of the mind and there’s a great peace that can come in that. The mind no longer feels it needs to travel everywhere, it can rest on what we choose to focus on which is where the real gift of attention starts to come. It is from here that we can now inquire into the source of attention.
Where is the attention coming from? In the beginning, we are very interested in where the attention goes, and not even in just a spiritual sense, it can be french fries, shopping, a crush, whatever it might be!
Then on the spiritual path, we start to become interested in the mantra, the breath, and the peace that comes as a byproduct of focusing our attention. From here, the mind is quiet and focused enough to inquire into where the attention actually comes from; what is the source of attention?
We can understand attention as this connection between subject and object.
When we first follow it back we recognize ah yes, there is a subject here; a witness, a perceiver, one who is able to say “my attention is out”.
But when we travel far enough back, we never really find a subject. We never find a place where we can land and say “yes, this is the place where attention comes from.”
In the disappearance of the belief that there is even an “I”, attention goes back into its source, in a sense, and we are left with the space between subject and object; the being-ness that exists between perceiver and perceived.
And now we are resting in pure Knowing, in the dissolving of attention which happens when we suddenly have nowhere to place it.
tap the link below to listen to this blog in a podcast format