Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame. ~The Buddha
Bare attention flows in opposition to a life guided by streams of unconscious habit patterns and emotional reactivity. Bare attention awakens us to the stones we stumble over due to the blindness of confusion or ignorance. It shines a light into the shadows of confusion and ignorance and finds our frustrated desires and suppressed resentments. Bare attention identifies and pursues the single threads of the closely interwoven threads of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, which have over the years formulated the tapestry of our life story.
Bare attention is the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at each successive moment of perception. It is the forerunner of insight. It is a way of being that is counter to the general manner by which we briefly and fleetingly know or experience the events or people within our daily schedules. Bare attention trains the mind to be detached, open, silent, and alert within the framework of the present moment. It is an intention to suspend all judgments and interpretations, and to simply note and dismiss them if and when they do occur.
The task within bare attention is to simply acknowledge what occurs just as it occurs. It is a process of inviting one’s self back into the present, of being mindful of the moment, with the realization that our minds have taken us into an imaginative realm of fantasy, recollections, or discursive thoughts. It is a means by which to acquaint our selves with an object before our minds alter its presence through conceptual paint overlaid with interpretations.
Bare attention is undertaken with an intention to undo our general ways of being in the world, it is an intention of simply noting and not thinking, not judging, not associating, not planning, not imagining, not wishing. It notes each occasion of experience as it arises, reaches its peak and then fades away. It is a sustained mindfulness of experience in its bare immediacy, carefully and precisely and persistently.
Bare attention awakens me to the relationship I have formed with this world through the untested foundations of beliefs, values, guiding principles, and morals. To attend to what formulated these foundations I have found seeds of misconstrued concepts built out of my childhood fears and fantasies. I have seen a blind faith to family customs, rituals, and cultures. I have come to understand how some of the holy of holy concepts within my “absolute truths” are unquestioned beliefs which perpetuate suffering.
Excerpts from B Koeford, A Meditative Journey with Saldage
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