Ten Commandments of Everyday Living: 1
where you are and what you are doing at every moment of the day - avoid
drifting, daydreaming and fantasising.
talking on mobile phones as they walk down the street give an eloquent
demonstration of one of mankind’s great liabilities: partial attention.
The motor function is moving their legs but their journey is reduced to a
mere backdrop to their conversation which, as likely as not, is about
events which have occurred or are to occur at a different time. When
people are talking on mobile phones what is going on around them, the present
moment, is without value or interest but if they are not here neither are
they there. They exist in a limbo land created from their own thoughts,
emotions and imaginings.
is a place where we all spend a great deal of our lives as the preferred
alternative to being alert in the present moment. Boredom is a lack of
investment in the present moment and boredom is death to opportunity.
point of these articles is not to inveigh against modern living, least of
all in the name of some lost simplicity and innocence that was more
supportive of a spiritual life- a sentimental conceit if ever there were
one. Modern life is what we have, it has made us who we are and it is
shaping our opportunities. We have to make it work for us. Our attention
spans may be getting shorter but partial attention has existed for as long
as humans have had two eyes, one to respond to objective, one to respond
person who is fully awake divides his energy between the two without loss
to either. Divided attention is to be distinguished from partial
attention. Divided attention is 1+1=2; partial attention is 1-x. Mostly we
are in a state of partial attention where the process of receiving
impressions from outside is interrupted from within.
the process reverses and reverses again and so on.
Our attention is fragmented by this process and attention that is
fragmented is hard to control. It gets taken over first by one thing and
then by another and so we lurch from one experience to another, and from
one sensation to another, trying to get more of those that are pleasurable
and to avoid those involving pain or discomfort. This strategy doomed to
failure because, in truth we have no real control over what catches us up.
the ages spirituality has existed to help us gather up the fragments of
attention, like drops of water in a cup, and raise it up to a higher level
in order that we may become more consistent, more purposeful and less
reactive and distracted. There are as many ways of doing this as there are
forms of organised spirituality. The Buddhists encourage meditation
Christianity encourages a mindfulness of others. This present phase of the
Masters teaching encourages mindfulness of purpose. All will require us to
be aware of what we are doing and thinking and feeling at all times. This
is what it means to be in the present moment.
present moment is the place where we make the decision that stands to
change our lives. It is also the place where we will be challenged. If we
do not remember ourselves every moment of the day how will we remember our
intention? The answer is we will not and we will make decisions, which are
counter to it. The dieter will forget why she decided she must diet and
give in to temptation; the smoker will forget why he has given up smoking
and light up; the spiritual aspirant will forget the suffering that has
made him commit to a different set of values and lets himself down through
the careless word, the untruth, the lack of consideration and the small
meanness. All such slips make it necessary on some level to recommit to
our intention, and recommitting takes additional energy. There will be a
moment when we will either find the energy to recommit or we will abandon
our intention. That moment is the present moment because all decisions are
made in the present moment.
third eye opens when the personality has achieved divided attention and is
ready to look upwards as well as outwards and inwards, not occasionally
3. Three is the number of spirit in manifestation.
is the best ally that a person trying to live purposefully has. To be able
to recall at any moment in any circumstances what is of importance to us
and to see how we can use the present opportunity to serve our purpose; to
be aware of ourselves as we react, to catch ourselves in the process of
reacting and so learn something new about our habitual tendencies,
something that may, in time, help us gain mastery over them: this is what
it means to live consciously. Living consciously is not a level of
attainment; it is a state of awareness. It does not involve walking around
in a state of self-important gravity as many people assume when they meet
with self- remembering techniques; it is, rather, a state of alertness
which is light rather than ponderous. Being aware of self is not
self-obsessing, any more than being observant when one is driving a car is
evidence of an obsession with that car. It is a basic act of self-
responsibility if we will acknowledge how dangerous to intention can be
the unguarded moment.
do we learn to stay awake and be appreciative of the present moment? One
thing is certain: we never will unless we throw off conditioning that
makes us perceive that the past which has gone, was more pleasurable and
the future which is yet to come is more promising. By comparison, the
present which we cannot adorn is dull, disappointing and demanding. We
fill up the present moment with busyness and distractions, seemingly
unaware that the reason the future never arrives as we expect because as
it becomes the present it has to pass through this portal of negativity.
And so the wheel grinds round.
past having gone and the future having yet to arrive, the present moment
is the only time we have and it contains all the opportunities that exist
for us. Attention alone will make the present moment purposeful, because
purpose is conferred by consciousness and attention will make the present
moment purposeful no matter what it contains. Without consciousness our
lives are a succession of random experiences, some pleasurable, some not,
that stick to us like chewing gum to a shoe as we meander without
direction between the cradle and the grave.
any skill being in a state of attention is improved through practice but
first we have to consciously engage with the activity.