Attention is a kind of questioning, but not questioning as the brain and the egoic self understand it. The egoic self wants answers that do not exist and so cannot be found because its maxim is seek but do not find (e.g. T-12.IV.4:1-5). But attention is content to let what is be. It no longer projects its wants and uncertainties. Attention is a form of acceptance in which need itself ends and so seeking, too, ends.
But attention is not exclusive. This is a condition of its capacity to heal through undoing: nothing is left out. Nothing is forbidden. Whatever arises belongs. Whatever arises is welcome.
Attention includes even itself – that is, it gives attention to attention and to the gift of attention. Has it been made conditional – offered only to those people, places and things that the ego deems favorable? Has it excluded what causes pain and discomfort and fear? So long as it is conditional or exclusive it is not attention, but projection – another attempt, however veiled or nuanced, to make an ideal self against which the world stands in ruinous opposition. You and I are not that.
When we are attentive, we are merciful: unto that which we perceive, which is our brothers and sisters, and so by extension unto ourselves. Mercy is the willingness to offer love and succor in the face of grief, injustice and conflict. The merciful love because they know that love is all, and this knowledge is not of the brain. It is not subject to change. It is not intellectual. Language does not make it – rather, it consents to be temporarily contained by words in the interest of a greater and more fullsome release for all.
You who perceive yourself as weak and frail, with futile hopes and devastated dreams, born but to die, to weep and suffer pain, hear this: All power is given unto you in earth and Heaven. There is nothing that you cannot do. You play the game of death, of being helpless, pitifully tied to dissolution in a world which shows no mercy to you. Yet when you accord it mercy, will its mercy shine on you (W-pI. 191.9:1-4).
Do not hide from what appears before you: do not reject what appears before you: do not even judge what appears before you. Analysis is not our task any more: love is. And since we do not know what love is, then we must become willing learners: and the salient quality of all devoted students is their attentiveness. Only that!
Life offers itself to us that we might offer it to our brothers and sisters, to chickadees and bears, seascapes and landscapes, to starlight and space. It is given that we might give it – that is its law, that is what ensures Creation. Through attention we learn what is already done because it is always being done. This is the end of learning: this is the beginning of joy.