In a sense, the work is simply to not wish that life be other than it is, at this moment. That sounds easy but it is actually very hard. If we look closely, we will see that we are in a state of apparently perpetual resistance to life. We compare it to past iterations and find it wanting, we dream of better manifestations going forward . . .
This is essentially a mechanical process to which we acquiesce. Thought hums along doing what it does and we don’t question it. We just assume that it must be true and inevitable. But even a few minutes of attention clarifies that thought is nowhere near as reliable or structured as it seems. In fact, it’s kind of a mess.
We don’t have to do anything about this other than see it. If we can see it, then it will naturally be undone. It’s odd but true: part of the reason that thought (or the ego, if you like) gets away with so much is because we just don’t see it. In the light of attention, it ceases to function because it is a kind of darkness and in light of any kind, it ceases to exist.
The temptation is always to look for more than what is. We become attentive, and life clarifies a little, and we start to look for something additional: a little rainbow, a little angel, a little nudge from Jesus. When we are looking for more, we are no longer looking at what is, and then the default mode kicks back in. Wanting more is what caused Lucifer’s fall from Heaven: we can appreciate the symbolism.
But we are not bad and Heaven’s doors – I am speaking metaphorically – never close. Picture a sign above them: “Open twenty four seven, even on Christmas.” When we see that we are distracted, we are seeing again, and thus we are no longer distracted. Heaven is a state of awareness devoid of a wish it be anything else. When you fall, you return by virtue of attention: and you see that you are still there. It is as if something goes on, even when we are not giving attention to it.
Most spiritual paths and traditions eventually lead one to this juncture, however articulated: attention reveals that there is no separation between the observer and the observed. Again, to get hung up on the articulation is to miss the point. The point is that you are not separate from truth, life, love, God. This is a plain, simple truth. We can apprehend it with our natural intelligence. Common sense can be very helpful. It turns out we know what to do, which is why we are so good at not doing it.
So the point more and more is just to get into that space of attentiveness because there, everything pretty much takes care of itself. We know what to do and how to act.