Monday, March 16, 2009
The Second Attention
We go through our daily lives relying upon our five senses to interpret the world around us and our relationship to it. This is absolutely necessary for us to function in this material realm because these senses send input from our surroundings to the brain where it processes and stores this information forming our perception of Reality. This reality, though, is just one definition, our own, and therefore it is different from everyone else's. In order for individuals to form a culture, and a society in general, we must come to an agreement about our collective definition of this reality so we can interact and function together. Without this consensus, there would be complete chaos. When groups of us encounter the same situation, though, the differences in our perceptions, or definitions, of this event become clear. Such is the case when several people witness an auto accident or say a robbery and give their individual reports to the police. If you were to read every report and compare the stories, you would be very surprised at the inconsistencies between them. Take the robbery for example. The descriptions of the robber alone will vary greatly as to height, weight, color of hair and eyes, type and color(s) of clothing, and even ethnicity. It is truly a wonder that the police ever catch a criminal based solely upon their witness reports. There is, however, usually enough matching information running through the core of the collective descriptions to create a general consensus of the event - enough to go on. But can anyone say for certain what the One Reality was?
The answer is no because no one actually "saw" the true Reality. We do, however, manage to get through our daily lives with a minimal amount of death and destruction - at least on a very localized level. So is this all there is? Most people would answer yes and they would be wrong. Our five senses are so very limited and therefore only a negligible view of Reality is available to us at best. To ever "see" even the smallest amount of what is truly real requires us to let go of this "First Attention" which is confined and limited to our five senses and discover the most important "sense" we have. This "Second Attention" is very rarely even noticed and then it can only be understood by those individuals who have Awakened from the Sleep of the masses. Even then, to actually use this ability of our True Self in any meaningful way may take many years or even a lifetime. You hear stories about people whose lives were saved because for some reason, they listened to this unknown sense. For example, there is the story of a man who purchased an airline ticket, waited for his flight, but as he was walking to board the plane, he felt an uneasy feeling in his gut, his Center, a feeling that something was not right about this situation. He was so disturbed by this feeling that he turned around and left. He later heard that the plane he had decided not to get on had crashed and all of the passengers and crew were dead. He had listened to his Intuition and by doing so had avoided a certain death. This gut-level knowing is the Second Attention and when listened to, is never wrong. How many times have you been heading out the door to work or some place else and felt like you had forgotten something? You stop for a moment, take a mental inventory, and realize that you had forgotten a package you had planned to mail or something more important. Maybe you had forgotten to unplug the iron you used on your shirt and it could possibly cause a fire. We are always One with our True Self, our True Nature, but the interference from our noisy Egos hides us from our Source. We are Aware of everything but our extremely limited five senses, the subsequent perception or interpretation, and the many filters our input goes through before being sent to our conscious mind, leaves us literally blind to the infinite realm of Reality. It is a very good thing too because if we ever got a glimpse of full Reality and were not prepared to deal with IT, our brains would short circuit and leave us emotionally damaged, insane, or dead. Thankfully, once Awakened and later "introduced" to our Second Attention, this "Seeing" or better yet, this "Knowing" is gradually expanded and incorporated over time.
All of the true Sages throughout the ages have taught this in their own way. Though the terminology in the teachings be different because of the differences in language, culture, and times, this great Truth has been a crucial key to accessing our True Nature, Self, God, what have you. For example, when the disciples ask Jesus what they were supposed to say as they were sent out to spread the Truth, he responded by telling them to quit worrying about it because the words would come to them at the proper time and that there was enough to do in this moment. Another perfect example is when Carlos Castaneda ask don Juan, a Yaqui Indian Man of Knowledge, what he would do in a certain situation. Carlos set up this scenario for don Juan: "You are walking through this valley on your way to gather your medicinal herbs and unknown to you, there is a sniper well-hidden along your route. He has studied your routine, knows exactly when and where you will be, and his sole purpose is to kill you. This sniper is the best there is, armed with the finest scoped assassin's rifle made, and he never misses. How will you stop him from killing you?" don Juan calmly replies, "I just won't be there." In the internal martial arts, say Aikido for example, when the Master is attacked, he is always moving ahead of his attacker's movements so that he is never where his opponent is striking. In fact, the Aikido Master is always in the perfect position to use his opponent's energy against him and to redirect it back at his attacker. I have always referred to this as, "the Art of not being there". This Aikido Master is operating completely on the level of Intuition and has his Second Attention fully focused. We go through our daily lives letting our Egos be in "control" when the entire time, we are literally out of control. This is the blind leading the blind! If we will just relax, clear the mind, and let our True Nature be in control, we will always be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. This is who we really are, how we are supposed to be, and understanding this is the first step on our Path with Heart. Life happens only when we are completely in the Present. In this state, we are impeccable warriors invulnerable to harm and "listening" to the Wisdom of the Universe. This time here in this dangerous material realm is our real school and we are constantly surrounded by "teachers" screaming Wisdom at us. All we have to do is to let go of the Ego, it's illusion of power and control, and start "listening" with our Second Attention. Class has started! Are you paying Attention?
"Duality is only an illusion so
"see" what is not there by
grasping it with your intuition!"
"If my adversary does not move, my center remains calm,
if my adversary moves, I move first"
~ Sun Tsu
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