Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Still more on attention

I found myself pondering the practice of attention again today and looking for some more material about it. I found this passage by artist and spiritual writer William Segal:
With sustained attention, one grasps relationships which usually are overlooked. So how to nurture an attention which penetrates into the heart of things? It's an interesting subject, to speculate that with attention. Whole new worlds reveal themselves. The Chinese and Japanese artists have understood for a long time the importance of being 'still,' of gathering their energies for a few moments before beginning.

Instead of a headlong rush, which is fine for a while, one has to step back. This stepping back is difficult, especially when one is on a roll. In painting, as in other pursuits, when all is going well one wants to keep going... That's fine, but sometimes a pause, stop, stepping back and looking brings the unexpected.
Concentration, attention is the key in any endeavor, whether building a brick wall, working with a computer program or painting a picture.
Can you stop rushing, be still and just pay attention? The meditation process trains us to do just that and reinforces our inner faith in its value.

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