Attention to Detail Equals Heaven

I am watching finches out the window as I write. They crowd the feeder: flashes of bright yellow, pale red, dusky brown. Obviously it is a finch conference. Or maybe God told them I need a bolt of loveliness to keep going today. Who knows? Who cares?

In their presence, I remember I am already happy.


When I was little, I couldn’t believe that goldfinches – well, lots of birds, but goldfinches in particular – actually existed. They were so beautiful! I missed the school bus once because I stopped to admire a group of them flitting around in the bushes. I forgot everything in the face of all that yellow.

Perhaps growing up is simply relearning the grace of our childlike priorities – or unlearning the chaos of our adult ones.

The disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the middle of them, and said, “Truly I say to you: Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

18 Matthew 1-3

We will receive as much help – as much grace – as much divine love – as we can accept. And it will arrive in the form that we are able to accept. Don’t worry about what’s happening in anybody else’s life – their ascended masters, their guardian angels, their followers, their status. Pay attention to your own experience. God is right there waiting. In every moment – without condition – God is there. Literally.

The form this “thereness” takes is quite irrelevant to the presence itself. In a way, the whole movement of our experience as students of A Course in Miracles is simply the shift away from a focus on form to a focus on content. It feels hard because it’s unfamiliar. But with practice its simplicity is natural and revelatory.

As nothingness cannot be pictured, there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen (T-27.III.5:1-2).

Our liberation begins when we stop expecting God on our terms and begin experiencing the divine presence as it is right now. That is not mystical hogwash. A Course in Miracles gently but firmly redirects our attention away from the external and toward the internal, where all decisions are made, including the one for inner peace. Get that and everything – even what appears externally – will follow.

That morning with the finches long ago, I had to take a later bus and so was late to school. I received a number of lectures about not dawdling, about how important school was, and how day-dreaming was just a form of laziness. Those adults were well-intentioned and even kind. And in a sense, they were right. It is important to show up for our lives, to meet our obligations and so forth.

But the question is always: to what is our attention directed?

Attention redeems us: it allows us to perceive the form but not stop at its temporal and spatial boundaries. We learn slowly to see beyond it – to what is outside time and space. In its presence, we remember that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. We already have everything because the finches – like roses, like sunsets, like a bar of dark chocolate – are in us as we are in them. We are together and together we are home.

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  1. Thank you Sean, for increasing my awareness, of focus………that is in process the of increasing now, and this lovely post is ‘just what the Dr. orderd’ for me this evening, raising my joy level…..if that’s possible. 🙂 luvuall4evr,sally

    1. Yes! There is something in the fleeting nature of wildlife that widens our capacity to see . . .

  2. Well said Sean! Your observations and thoughts remind me of the following poem…

    When I Was The Forest
    by Meister Eckhart

    When I was the stream, when I was the
    forest, when I was still the field,
    when I was every hoof, foot,
    fin and wing, when I
    was the sky

    no one ever asked me did I have a purpose, no one ever
    wondered was there anything I might need,
    for there was nothing
    I could not
    It was when I left all we once were that
    the agony began, the fear and questions came,
    and I wept, I wept. And tears
    I had never known

    So I returned to the river, I returned to
    the mountains. I asked for their hand in marriage again,
    I begged—I begged to wed every object
    and creature,

    and when they accepted,
    God was ever present in my arms.
    And He did not say,
    “Where have you

    For then I knew my soul—every soul—
    has always held

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