The waking mind spends all day sorting and cataloguing and tasting subjects. We are deeply immersed in the movie of the self. It is a seamless identity reinforcing process. We are so invested in believing in the meanings and feeling the emotions invested in the meanings of our thoughts that we don’t notice the process of thought itself. Training awareness of the turning of attention drops us into a deeper experience of Experience. We can take a moment to notice thinking without being invested in the storytelling. This noticing highlights the greater pattern of the interconnected-ness of thinking. We can watch the threading of thought, and note the corresponding body experience of the thoughts. Thoughts arrive and are linked together by subject threads, spinning along, jumping rock to rock in the river of attention. We can notice the birth of a memory being made. We can notice emotions being invested and entangled in the memory. When a memory is being created, our mind will repeat it over and over, re-telling the story to fit into the greater narrative of the me. Emotions will be invested in the memory, when our mind is triggered to re-access the memory it can re-experience the narrative as a full body movie experience type event. Traumatic memories have tremendous emotional energy invested in them, we experience these types of thoughts as suffering. All suffering wants is your real Attention, for a suffering thought is a thought that has traumatic emotional energy trapped in it. These thoughts have been reinforced and given power by repetition. Providing a suffering thought with Attention will release the emotional trauma energy invested in the thought. This is Kindness. We are so entrained with being immersed in the meaning of the thought, in the story, that we neglect to notice there is a story teller. We love this kind of magical immersion in story telling, it is a thing of beauty, it is not Wrong. It is simply helpful to slip out of immersion and Notice the story being told.
I want to bring attention back now to the threading of thought. It is beautiful to notice the interconnecting pattern of thinking. The next interesting thing to notice is thinking with a friend. Try this experiment: next time you are in conversation, take a moment to notice this connecting of topics, this communion with your conversation partner, this co-creation. Drop into the thread, move attention away from meaning and just notice the interweaving. Bring attention to the language of your body. Bring attention to the room. This kind of Presence changes the experience of connection. Imagine wilfully introducing a subject totally off topic with no introduction. It feels deeply awkward. Your conversation partner may even shame you for the audacity. For it feels selfish. It signifies you aren’t listening, that you are disconnected. It is a pleasure to be immersed in this interweaving with a friend. With a trusted friend we generally don’t feel defensive, so the threading of thinking together feels natural and nourishing. Try feeling into noticing the warmth of connection created when sharing thinking with a friend. Something greater than both of you is being experienced, but What? It is Awareness, Attention holds both of you in the embrace of Context. Now notice your body energy when walking into a room full of strangers you have no shared purpose with. We feel awkward and defensive, the identity is threatened, there is a real possibility of attack from other threatened identities. Then someone builds a bridge. Perhaps they say ‘Crazy weather huh?’. They have created an offer to entrain thought together. Its fine to choose not to think together, totally allowed, but imagine for a moment you are in the mood to engage. Next time you are in a social situation, just take a moment to feel into the Context, the greater atmosphere of interconnection and disconnection. Awareness of this energetic undercurrent is tremendously valuable in facilitating fruitful thinking. Humans have the capacity to weave and emotionally invest entire abstract mythologies together, and will undertake the process of reinforcing mythology through repetition and agreement. Notice the experience of defensiveness around ideas. When we have attached ideas to our identity we become very protective of them. Notice that fighting is about the identity. Identity mythology is not confined to individual humans, but any organization that has Group think. What if we could group think for greater benefit and move beyond the theatre of attacking and defending group identities?
Building this muscle of dropping into Context has other benefits. It turns out all sentient beings are interconnected in Awareness. It is possible to share Communion across all Life. Experiment with feeling into communion with your nearest sentient being. It could be your pet, or the nearest plant life, it could be the wind, or the rain. It turns out there is potential for communion here. It turns out dropping storytelling and just paying attention can bring a vibrant experience of interconnection with All.
Here’s another experiment, look around your room, notice the body response and story telling associated with the objects in your house. Feel how the objects connect into your identity story. Humans also invest objects with attention and emotional energy, just like thoughts. We are interconnected with our objects. This interconnection we feel in thoughts, with others, with objects is Context. We could call it Everything is Connected.
Humans can be tremendously destructive and selfish when lost in the dream of our own mythology making, both on an intimate and world scale. It is no surprise that we have been group thinking and giving group attention to the story of a zombie apocalypse, for we are currently living it. We can however prevent our brains being eaten by the unconscious zombie group think. Training the conscious turning of attention to Attention will create an entirely different world. If we turned our attention away from the Problem of Me, the energy of creating worlds would be at our disposal. Notice this week who and what in the world is currently receiving the investment of our collective attention? This week experiment with noticing the ‘thinking together’ of your world. What if we were conscious of the myths we were weaving together? What would this mean for the world? What if we noticed where and what we were investing our tremendous collective attention towards? The age of the attention economy demands that we become savvy to where we turn and invest our attention. Now that’s something to Think about.