Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Most Important Thing

It struck me recently that as soon as I assign a most important thing, my opportunity for freedom from attachment begins to seep away.

Sometimes while teaching I will say, "just notice what you notice, then let it go." So I am trying to encourage awareness without elevating any particular sensory data or any of the meanings we like to attach to that information to "most important thing" status.

When taking classes I am curious about the ways in which teachers draw attention to a wide variety of possibilities for the mind, directing and encouraging, hoping to bring focus and awareness where there was blur and oblivion. Some speak of alignment points, I know I sometimes do (knees over ankles). Sometimes its energy flow patterns, as in "allow your spine to rise with the inhale," or maybe "radiate from your heart through your fingertips." Then there are the emotional/psychological instructions "open your throat chakra and allow your true voice to sound," or spiritual encouragements like "feel the universal self in your back body."

But what's the most important thing? Attentiveness? Non-judgment? Focus? Alignment? Dedication? Perseverance? Faith? Putting in the time? I really think that as soon as I allow a "most important thing" to take hold, I close off possibilities and become attached to outcome. It's that simple.

In almost any context, if I ask myself "what is the most important thing?" what I really mean is, "Can I focus in on this a little better?" or it might mean "Can I get this situation under control?" The first is cultivating awareness and drawing my attention more to whatever it is, the second is grasping and attaching and hanging on more tightly to what I think. The first definitely makes it easier to maintain my equilibrium, the second tends to lead to willfulness and letting reactivity run the show. Either way, my practice at this point goes back to "noticing what I notice, and letting it go."

Being is such an interesting way to live a life! I am deeply grateful to spend less and less time in that state where I am a puppet and my reactive nature holds the controls.

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