The Power of Attention, Part Three

Recovering from Fear

During the recovery period, certain situations may trigger the appearance of fear-generated thoughts in the mind. Old patterns of reaction to circumstance may reappear and catch you by surprise. You need not be discouraged. These are merely old soldiers of fear trying desperately to keep their grip on your mind. They are just trying to protect you based on the false idea that you need protection from life itself.

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The Power of Attention, Part Two

Self-Directed Attention

The practice of Self-Directed Attention allows you to develop deep control of your attention and enables you to choose for yourself what is worth paying attention to and what is not. Over time, you increase your ability to decline to attend to thought forms that are harmful or simply irrelevant in the moment.

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The Power of Attention, Part One

Looking at Yourself

When you look at yourself directly with the firm intention of getting a taste (a feel, a whiff) of what it feels like to be you, the unconscious ground of fear upon which your mind developed over your lifetime dissipates. Just one look with your inner eye at the raw sense of me before any names, definitions, understandings, and emotional states eliminates that underlying context of fearfulness.

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Enlightenment Is Not Worth Striving For

The idea of enlightenment as a magical event that makes everything perfect is a fairy tale, a misunderstanding of what it really means to be free.

If you have been on a spiritual path for any length of time, this may be a hard pill to swallow. We know. We walked a spiritual path for many years ourselves once, and taught it to many others believing that our deep understanding of spirituality had brought us home.

We were wrong.

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A World Gone Mad

We live in dire times. Children are being gunned down in their own classrooms and countries with thermonuclear weaponry are threatening to use them for fear that others might use them first.

It is true that many non-profit organizations are making admirable efforts to solve localized problems around the world but they stop short. Their efforts are commendable but they do not address the root cause of all our problems: the fear of life.

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About Expectations

A few weeks ago we went to see an acupuncturist in a Los Angeles neighborhood that was completely unfamiliar to us. John dropped me off at the office and went to park the van.

When we left the office, he could not remember where he had parked the van.  He had been in such a hurry to get back to the office that he had not thought of taking note of the location. We walked for hours looking for the van, to no avail. We had to rent a car in Glendale to drive home.

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Naked and Afraid

The baby, too, just like a sailor tossed
By cruel waves, lies naked on the ground,
Poor child, bereft of every means of life,
As soon as it has left its mother’s womb
In throes of birth, and fills the room with squalls,
As is but meet for one who has to pass
Such ills in life. Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (54 B.C.)

If you have followed our work for even a short time, you must know by now that, in our view, it is the fear of life itself that ruins life for almost all of us human beings.

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What Makes our Work Different

Someone recently sent us an email with a question that we found very useful.

First of all, I would like to say “Thank you” with great sincerity and deep gratitude. I enjoy listening to your talks due to your sincerity, honesty and, above all, your simplicity. I would like to ask you one question and I hope you can find the time to answer. It would be much appreciated. 

Many years ago, I came across Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book I Am That and although I couldn’t understand most of it, certain parts spoke to me. If you will bear with me, I would like to give two quotes that really struck home:

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Podcast Episode 28: Self-Directed Attention Unbound

In this episode, we discuss the real purpose of the Self-Directed Attention Exercise, which is to develop your control over your attention. And we explain how simple and strict the practice is and how its full benefits are missed when you try to use it to make yourself feel good, to quiet your mind, or anything else like that.

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