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Attention … A Core Mystical Perception Skill

Attention …  A Core Mystical Perception Skill
Modern Day Mystic Series by Sandra Cosentino

Attention is a powerful skill used by mystics, modern and ancient, to expand awareness of energies and open to perceive new insights.

The practice of focused attention can expand perceptual, direct knowing.

Ancestral peoples, for example, had deep observational abilities of the cycles of nature and celestial realms.  These keen observations over time created astronomies and spiritual practices to stay in attunement with nature’s cycles and energies.

Confidence and inner knowing arise from paying attention.

“Holding deeper attention is all it takes to illumine what is invisible.” (Llyn Roberts)

 

Person walking a 7 path labyrinth with mountains in background. Vision quest and ceremony, to be successful, require powerful focused attention skills.

Vision quest and ceremony, to be successful, requires powerful focused attention skills.


Split Attention

Sarah McLean points out that constant effort is required to multi-task (from her excellent book, Soul-Centered). MIT researchers, she states, found that we can only focus on one or two items at a time. Thus, we overload our brain’s processing capacity.  This results in less clear thinking and slowing down of mental processes. “Split attention and distractions can create stress and lower the quality of our life, but meditation can help.”

“Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called distraction..”

(William James, Principles of Psychology)

 

Navajo weaver in Canyon de Chelly. This represents creative focus, and attunement with nature in the pattern she is weaving

Navajo weaver in Canyon de Chelly.
The artist knows well the practice of attention
and all that flows from creative focus.


Attention Practices

Notice Signs. Gifts always flow when entering nature with rapt attention.   Notice the subtle permutations of light, shadow, sounds, smells, movement of air around you.  And pay attention to your own inner responses.

A practice you might enjoy is to ask for a sign to help resolve an issue.  You put that request out to the greater field of intelligence along with your gratitude.  And then you heighten your awareness and notice what attracts your attention.  Such attentive observation provides an opening for our innate wisdom to be mirrored to us by the environment around us.

Fred Kabotie painting of Hopi flute dancers in deep attention to the Water Serpent. This represents the focus used in ceremony to bring rain to their arid high desert so the corn will grow.

Fred Kabotie painting of Hopi flute dancers in deep attention to the Water Serpent to bring rain to their arid high desert so the corn will grow.


Attention to Coincidence. Even the ordinary can become a sign to us when observed in the context of our focused attention. Thus, you may find greater synchronicity happening in your life.

“A coincidence is a collection of two or more events or conditions, closely related by time, space, form, or other associations which appear unlikely to bear a relationship as either cause to effect or effects of a shared cause, within the observer’s or observers’ understanding of what cause can produce what effects.” (Wikipedia)


Close up photo of a grizzly bear's face. This is a powerful example of focus and attention.

Once I looked directly into a bear’s eyes in the wild–that image of focused attention is forever burned into my psyche.

Shapeshifting. When I let my eyes travel into the landscape, or the wild bird I am observing, I become “one” with their energy. For example, this conscious energy exchange heightens awareness of the unique qualities of of a place. When you take time to really see and sense, you gain a sense of “knowing” that place.  It is as if you see it for the first time.


Child as Role Model.  As a child, we all had imagining abilities that opened us to wondrous realms of direct experience. For example, below is a Hopi toddler sitting in rapt attention with his family dance group on a stage beating his drum beater in rhythm.
Hopi child holding drum stick and keeping rhythm with his family who is performing a song. This represents the raft attention of a child and learning by observing.


Change our Reality.
Don Miguel Ruiz wisely points out:

“Where we put our attention, is what we experience–our personal dream.”

Ruiz advises to pay compassionate attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions each day and make choices how you will use your energy.  He says, “Using our awareness, we can focus our attention in our everyday life to reprogram ourselves in our own way.”


Wisdom from work out on the land:
Some of the clearest eyed wise people I know are Navajo sheepherders that live out on the land, Hopi farmers, and range-riding cowboys I knew from my youth in northern Arizona.  Deeply attuned to the natural world around them, these skilled outdoor people carry a calm sense of confidence.   Their wisdom is born of direct attentive engagement.

Navajo sheepherder on horseback painting. This represents clear focus and wisdom of people who work on the land.

Navajo Sheepherder


Notice the seeds you plant with your thoughts and and what you focus on each day.   Tending to these seeds can yield fruitful conscious evolution results.


Signs, energies, intuitions flow to us daily.  When we pay attention to these signs, we strengthen our ability to adapt with our rapidly changing world.


Notice the energies within your body, your dreams and of other people in our life.    Such attention helps us keep our health and life in better balance.


Llyn Roberts speaks eloquently of the value of earth attunement:

Aligning with our planet gains us trust and fluidity. Oneness with the earth brings us into oneness with ourselves, which can ease our movement through perilous times.

Resonance with the earth tangibly benefits animals who can detect subtle changes in the earth.

We think that animals perceive faint shifts in the earth because of heightened faculties. They have a honed sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. But beyond the evident, instincts are at play which we can’t interpret. These come from an animal’s inborn attunement to nature. Humans, too, can awaken this.

We can attune to stone, earth, sky, wind and water. In experiencing oneness we gain wisdom, power, and energy. As with animals who pick up on subtle signals from the earth, human beings can also know things that are otherwise impossible to know. Attuning this way is energizing and stirs a fresh outlook of ourselves and our world.

By tuning into the earth, knowing her heart as our own and awakening to nature’s pulses, we resonate with forces which push us now to evolve and grow. The time is ripe to expose our own latent talents, and so, rouse confidence to find our way through changing times. “


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