What is this thing called attention?
This question/comment concerning attention came by email from a friend, and is the subject of this post:
“Given the perspective of CIA, how do we account for attention, which seemingly can shift from what it attends to? Is it part of the human sense, or not? If it is, then it is what is not, which invalidates its ability to be present with what is.”
Reality Check: The only Self, Life, Consciousness, existent and now present, is that of the Infinite Itself, Absolute Being, which is All. As often emphasized, everything said here is from this “stance.”
To this presently conscious Infinite Alive Being, there is no such thing as “attention.” There is nothing besides Infinity to wander, and then “return home”—just as the Infinite Awareness that is here and now present, never wanders from being present. The Infinite Self is not trying to account for attention, and there is no other–no such thing as “we.” Do not read this under an assumption that You are one of many bodies, each with a “wandering, thinking, mind” that can sit in front of a computer while it appears this is being read. All there is to You is boundless Alive Presence, the un-wandering Undimensional, Un-appearing Infinite Aliveness.
The very notion that there is such a thing as “attention” mistakenly implies Infinity, the Only Self, can be two. The notion of attention implies Infinity is capable of knowing finity. It implies that there is time in Infinity. It implies that the Present Itself is not all-present. It implies that Existence Itself can flit in and out of existing, in and out of being ALL. None of this is possible to Self, Infinite Being.
Infinity-As-All is incapable of being focalized or localized, and that is what attention purports to be—a focalizing of finite mental activity. It mistakenly implies there is time in Infinity during which a focalizing could occur. It implies a second state to which the focalizing could be directed. In Pure Infinity, (call It Emptiness if preferable) there is nothing to focalize on, and no one to do any focalizing. There isn’t even another that is “focalizing consciousness on Emptiness, Infinity”—for Emptiness, Infinity, is Its Own Consciousness, which is this Consciousness, which is all the Consciousness there is.
Attention would seem to be a focalizing on one form as opposed to another. It implies a focalizer and that upon which it focuses. None of this occurs in Infinity’s Formless Undimensional Being—which, again, isn’t “an” Infinity, but this presently alive Being.
Infinity Itself being All, not only leaves no other to put attention on Infinity. It leaves no such thing as attention in the first place!
If, somehow, Infinity, Pure Present-ness, were not all-present, and if, somehow, there were human time-sense (two huge “ifs”!) then attention would seem to belong entirely to it—not to this Present Awareness. So-called human sense and its “attention” would be entirely one-with time—time which never is the Present, time which never is present. Thus, “attention” (what never is present) has no possibility of being present with, or as, What Is Present, as so rightly indicated in the question above. It’s doomed to failure from the start!
One cannot leave it at that however. It’s not that there is the Present Self, and also this other thing called “attention” which does not belong to Self. The Present’s absolute Present-ness-As-All leaves only Itself, period. There is no secondary state.
Again, this is clear only when “starting” from the allness of Present Self, Infinite Changeless Being—and after all, IT is the one being presently conscious here—and this is what IT is “doing” or being.
If it were possible for Self, this Awareness, to ignore or leave Its Pure Present-ness, in favor of an appearance, and think in terms of time-pictures or dream (which actually is impossible), here is what seems to happen when there is an attempt to explain “attention” in this dream time-picture.
According to this dream picture, it seems there was a past time in which a separate “you” discovered spirituality, and became more aware of Awareness, Being. It seems as if this “you” had something called “attention,” a kind of mental capacity, seemingly capable of focusing on, or turning to, something called Awareness, Being, Emptiness. It’s as if there were a fence with two sides—the Formless, the Timeless—and a seeming realm of form and time. It seemed it was necessary to “live in the Real, the Now”—otherwise this thing called attention would wander off onto “the false side of the fence” and identify with forms—objects, thoughts, feelings—creating the separate personal “I.”
Then, it may have seemed there was more clarity, as if living is done mostly on one side of the fence—the Formless, the Timeless. The picture of form and time still appears to be there, but there is little or no identification with, or as it.
It is clear that the only Self is Unchanging Present Awareness, which is this Self aware here, now. It is clear this Awareness is the only Life, and It never wanders from Itself. This clarity is that of Present Awareness Itself—it is not another having clarity about Awareness. This Infinite Aware Being does not have “attention” because Infinity cannot split from Itself—there’s nothing to split. As It is ALL, there can be no flitting in and out of ALLNESS. Being changelessly Present only, It leaves no time in which a split or a flit could occur.
Then it seems as if concern over attention “falls away”—seen as never having been necessary to, never having belonged to, this infallibly All-Present Being. Being need not keep attention on Itself for fear It won’t be. As Self, attention is not Yours. You do not need it. To Alive-Infinity-As-All (This alive Presence) there is only Itself and thus nothing else that could attract It or distract It.
If it seems a thought arises, or there is a momentary distraction, instantly there is an alertness to Presence (which really is Self’s Presence as This Presence). If one were to put it into words, this alertness almost seems to say, “Wait a minute. Infinite Awareness is the only Self being here, now, and It fully is Itself, is All—NOW. It hasn’t mentally wandered from Itself, thus It has no need (or possibility!) of returning to Itself. So there certainly is no lesser self that needs to or could do something with “attention.” If thoughts or forms seem to arise—so what? They aren’t this Present Awareness and never actually pull this Present Awareness out of being.”
The point is, never let it be about a “you” and how good a job this “you” is doing with its “attention.” The only Life, Presence, there is, is Self Itself, Present Awareness. Always, It is a matter of, What is true of the Present Itself, alone? The Present simply cannot wander from Its Present Being and there is no other. It does not fail to fully be Itself, be All. When was the last time you notice the Present not being present?
As this Pure Present-ness, which has absolutely no prior history of being, You have no history of “attention” whatsoever. So there has been no past in which some lesser self was good with its attention or did a lousy job of it. The Present Itself has no history of ignoring Itself before because the Present, being all–present, leaves no “before.” There is only Present-ness. This does not change.
As emphasized in other posts—all would-be past history (of there being a lesser self having attention, or needing to be attentive) only would be found in a thought trying to arise now for the first time ever!
From CIA p. 239:
It’s never that you’ve “fallen” and must “climb back.” It’s staying alert that, as the Absolute Present, You leave no past in which You could have fallen!