When we are looking, says Anne Lamott, really actively observing, then we are overriding our tendency towards interpreting and distorting the objects of our perception.
Alexandra Horowitz asks, what does it really mean to pay attention? Is it beneficial? And how can we be better at it?
Simone Weil lauds 'unmixed attention', which she likens to prayer, and reflects on the quality of attention, expressed as 'patience, effort and method' to 'understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.'
Although the spirit of inquiry is at the heart of Buddhist practice, there are some questions that the Buddha deemed to be unanswerable, and discouraged his followers from asking. These are the deeply existential questions that seek answers about the nature of the self, the origin of the self and the state of the self… Continue reading Which are the Unanswerable Questions?
This now renowned commencement address given at Kenyon College back in 2005 has become one of David Foster Wallace's most impactful and widely shared essays. The core message - about waking ourselves up from our default modes and making choices about our lives and what we choose to pay attention to - is a crystallisation… Continue reading ‘If you’ve really learned how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options.’
The Art of Simple Living is handbook for the paring down of details of your daily existence to the most nourishing basics. Written by Shunmyo Masuno, a Japanese Soto Zen priest who is primarily known for his Zen garden design, the little book offers 100 daily practices to cultivate calm and joy. Below is the… Continue reading Disorder in Your Mind Shows in Your Feet – Shunmyo Masuno
This short and stirring paragraph comes right at the end of Upstream, Mary Oliver’s first essay in a collection of shorts that express her life’s trajectory towards nurturing and developing her creative spirit, always in intimate conversation with herself and with nature. It expresses the imperative need to nurture our own relationships with nature and to teach… Continue reading Mary Oliver – Teach the Children