Life doesn't always go as planned. When the outcome isn't what you expected, you may experience a sense of grief, anger, fear, or loss. Over the next two weeks, Silent Unity will present a question each day to help transform these thoughts into a more positive outlook. As we begin our journey, please join us in affirming: Today I choose a fresh perspective. I see possibility instead of limitation. I see hope instead of despair. I choose thoughts that build a better world.
Am I Really Listening?
By Paula Coppel, “Discovering the Law of Attention”
When we enact the law of attention—when we apply the power of our perception to a full experience of the present moment—we are lifted to a fuller awareness of our oneness with God and with all of creation.
Applying the law of attention doesn’t take years of study. It doesn’t require buying, attracting, or pursuing anything. It happens simply through a shift in focus—and the reward is instantaneous. A few years ago, I experienced the power of attention in a most moving and memorable way. I had been reading Eckhart Tolle’s landmark book, The Power of Now, noting how often I was not fully present in my daily life. In particular, I realized that I often half-listened when my children, Ben and Emily, were talking to me while I cooked and cleaned.
One night, I decided to respond differently. As I was setting the dinner table, Emily, then 13, came in and began telling me about a problem with a friend. Instead of continuing my task and answering her with rote “uh-huhs” and “really's?” I put down the silverware and turned full around to face her. I looked right into her eyes and focused entirely on her and every word she was saying.
After a few seconds, my attention on her became so intense that the room around us disappeared. I lost all sense of self and felt as though I was falling into her—into the pools of her eyes, into her soft voice, and tender heart. I felt overcome by my oneness with her, and tears filled my eyes.
A few weeks later, I told a spiritual mentor about this experience with my daughter, trying to make sense of it.
“I felt like I was falling into her,” I said.
“You were,” said my teacher. “You were falling in love.”
Yes, that was it. Once the distractions were cleared, once I was totally present, the way was open for a rush of love.
The law of attraction can help us improve the circumstances of our lives and is valuable for doing so. The risk is if we begin to believe this is all there is. Our ego is perfectly capable of conjuring up one thing after another that it thinks we “need” in order to be happy. We then find ourselves on the same treadmill that has led so many people to live, in Thoreau’s words, “lives of quiet desperation,” always chasing after the next thing.
By contrast, the law of attention implies a peaceful practice and expanded awareness. Attention is a manifestation of love, so being more attentive means being more loving. We know this from our own experience: When someone pays attention to us—looking, listening, giving—we feel cared about. Conversely, when someone ignores us, we feel demeaned, insignificant, unloved.
The more we focus on the present, the more we experience “the peace that surpasses all understanding,” and the more ably we radiate that peace to others. The kingdom is at hand; the true riches of life are already here. As we release our need to own, to get and to have, we can apply the power of attention to discover the true bliss that comes from no-self and no-thing at all.