Paying attention to something always makes that thing clearer and deeper. This is a truth with magical powers. If I am attentive to a book as I read, the book invariably becomes better, richer, more powerful. If I am attentive, really attentive, to my students, they grow stronger and more capable before my eyes. If I am attentive to the present moment, that moment – any moment – grows stronger, more intense, and more exhilarating. Attention is to anything what sunlight and rain is to plants. Attention feeds and energizes whatever it is focused on. Today, I will try to be attentive to each moment, and therefore I will have the pleasure of watching each of them sprout and spread and blossom.
Below, a scene from this lucky morning …
THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
(Sharon Z.,82, Blessings, CT)
At her age, she says she has
more scraping-the-heavens kinds of days
than she ever had in younger years.
She has little money,
so she’s always surprised
by the grand scale of her life,
the way, over 8 decades of years
she seems to have slowly
come from a cave into sunshine,
and finds herself now
on the spectacular summit
of old age,
with a trove of young talents inside her,
and all her worries fallen
into a silent and bottomless hole.
It happened, she says,
when life, not she,
became the center of attention
and this galloping good life
took her for a ride
This is what it’s all about!
This day will be a day of dedication. The Universe will dedicate each moment to just being its full and immense and stunning self, and I hope I can dedicate myself to paying careful attention – even devotion – to each of those moments. Life itself will be dedicated today to being fresh and new and boundless each moment, and I will – I hope – stay committed to being attentive to its beautiful unfoldment moment by moment. In a sense, I’d like to set aside each moment today as something sacred – perhaps even consecrate each moment, the way a priest might consecrate an altar in a church. Who knows? Delycia might see me bowing every so often as I praise and pay homage to a brand-new moment.
This day, and this moment, like all of them, has been set aside by the universe as something singular and superior, and I hereby devote myself to holding it dear.
WHAT THEY SAID
I’ll be right with you,
said the stars above his house,
and so will I,
said some enthusiastic breezes,
and me too,
said sincerity and kindness and
the careful, devoted flow of moments.
We’ll all be with you,
as it brought its faithful gift
over and over again
to his grateful, lucky lungs.
WORDS THAT AWAKEN
June 20, 2021, 4:40 a.m.
My goal for today is to be totally attentive. The word derives from the Latin word for ‘stretch’, which reminds me that I will need to stretch – to reach out and expand beyond my self-centered likes and dislikes, so I can see – and pay close attention to – the majesty that will be all around me today. I want to pay a serious visit to each present moment. I want to take careful note of what’s happening – my fingers smoothly moving across the computer keyboard, the soapy water sliding with ease across plates in the sink, my shoes softly brushing the floors as I walk through the house. Today, I want to truly notice what’s happening – not just see it, but actually become totally aware of it – scrutinize it, inspect it, study it. One branch bending in a breeze today is worthy of my total attention, as is each word someone speaks, each flutter of light and shadow, each smile or frown on a face. I want to be a watchful friend today – someone who loves life and stays alert to its marvels. I want to be on guard, ready to greet the goodness that will be breaking forth on all sides all day.
June 20, 2021
It's just like you.
It stands where it's supposed to stand.
It sighs when things go wrong -
a wild wind that wasn't expected,
a thousand footprints of sparrows,
a shirt of blistering sunlight.
Just like you,
the little things are pleasing to grass -
a golden scarf of sunshine,
the adventures of a youthful breeze,
the music of shoes walking.
You learn lessons every day,
and so does the grass -
to grow when it can,
to relax and lean away
when a wind comes,
to share its life
with sticks and blossoms and castaway things.
There's silence in your life,
as in the grass's -
the peace of your pleasant thoughts,
the serenity of standing
with brother and sister grass blades
in the starlight.