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OPENING THE HAND OF ATTENTION: UNCHAINING OURSELVES FROM SUFFERING


When attention is welded to thought, we are blind to Reality as Reality. When we are caught up and entangled in thought patterns coming from the primitive aspects of mind, what's sometimes referred to as the ID, we are not able to see the world as it really is. We are blinded by the ID's interpretations and projections. We see the world through the lens of the ID's beliefs and expectations, often mistaking them for our own.


Oftentimes this is from the perspective of fear, worry and anxiety. This trends and tends toward suffering, because the ID is constantly trying to make the world fit its expectations and models of the way it thinks things should be, so that 'it's' sense of comfort isn't overthrown. When we are not able to accept things as they are, and go along with the ID and act as its meat-puppet, we create a lot of unnecessary pain for ourselves and others.


The method to free ourselves from suffering is to learn to open the hand of attention and awareness. This doesn't mean that we stop thinking. It's not possible. The ID acts independently of us, just like the cardiovascular system, autonomic system, respiratory system, etc... functions without our explicit permission, and neither does the ego. We're powerless over most of what it's doing. It just means that we don't have to identify with thoughts arising in the mind. We are very, definitely not our thoughts.


When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time in the ocean, surfing. There were a lot of waves and a lot of opportunities to ride them. I didn't have to try and ride every wave that came near me. It wasn't possible anyway. Yet when it comes to thoughts, people try to surf and ride every single one the ID presents, because there's a sensation that we're somehow obligated to do so.


We can learn to observe our thoughts without getting caught up in them. When we do this, we start to see the world as it really is, without the filter of the ID's thoughts. This could be the very definition and starting point of freedom as an experience instead of a theory.


There are many different ways to learn to open the hand of attention and awareness. One way is to practice meditation. Meditation can help us to train our minds to focus on the present moment and to open our attention and awareness to what is, instead of what is not.


Another way to learn to let go of our thoughts is to simply pay attention to them. When we notice that we are caught up in a thought, we can simply observe it without judgment. We can then let it go and return our attention and awareness to the present moment.


Learning to open our attention and awareness is a process and not an event. It takes time and practice. But it is a path that is well worth taking. When we are able to open our attention and awareness, intentionally rather than accidentally, we open ourselves up to a whole new world of experience called reality being Reality. We become more present, more aware, and more connected to the world around us.


一We Are the Practice Itself


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