The Enigma of Consciousness 14a - Transparent Attention

Curriculum Focus

What is the Inner Journey
Absolute Attention
Freedom Vows
The Divine


Transparent Attention (excerpts from Chapter 14 please read the original material for complete context)

I AM Context

Giving rational names to aspects of the I Am is daring, since by definition the I Am is nameless.

.. all nine of these aspects are universal that is, I intend to describe aspects of the I Am that each of us can access.

. I am asking you to notice that temporality is not the whole story of your life, and that beneath all our differences we are the same in our Eternal relatedness.

The I Am is a combination of Attentionality and Intentionality. These are two aspects of the nature of consciousness. We pay attention to our surroundings, and we initiate actions within those surroundings. We know, and we do. We take in reality, and we shape reality with our choices. Attentionality is our direct awareness of our awareness in its temporal setting and Intentionality is our action that flows from this awareness into the wide world. As a quality of the I Am, attentionality is related to the past and memory. As a quality of the I Am, intentionality is related to the future and anticipation.

Paul Tillich in The Courage To Be spoke of these two dimensions of essential life as the courage to be apart and the courage to be a part. The I Am is both boundlessly solitary and boundlessly related to all things.

Transparent Attention

Curiosity is a type of trust of Reality. The most profound curiosity is a Transparent Attention to how our awareness participates in the Every-Thing-Ness in which all things cohere. Our awareness makes discriminations before our mind begins its work. Before an infant's mind has a name for toe, infant consciousness begins to be aware that its toe is me in a way that the crib slat is not. Awareness makes differentiations between my being and my mother's being before my mind has a name for mother or for self. As the mind learns names and learns to use them well, the self remains an aware being who can watch the mind do its work. Awareness can watch the mind make representations of what awareness already knows. Our awareness can differentiate specific things from the enduring Every-Thing-Ness without losing the awareness that all things participate in one overarching Every-Thing-Ness. When awareness focuses only on our mental representations, it can forget that these separately named things are not actually separated in Reality. Such forgetting is most serious when we assume that the I who rationally knows things is separate from the things we know. It is a delusion for us to assume that I am over here and the things known by me are over there. I the knower and the things I know are interlaced. So, here and there, them and me, are only mental discriminations. In Reality, each of us is an inseparable, ongoing, flowing part of an All-encompassing Oneness. This we know, not by any rational deduction, but by paying attention. A good poet understands that the mind can be used to assist seeing through the mind to something deeper. The good poet knows that the reader of the poets most accurate poems must see for himself or herself the vision that has inspired the poems. Through poems the poet can make contact with the I Am of the hearer or reader of the poems. The poems themselves are imperfect vessels of truth, but the I Am to I Am connection reveals a brilliancy of seeing that is beyond knowing in the ordinary sense of acquired knowledge stored in the mind. I am using the phrase interior dialogue as a way of indicating the communal quality of this Transparent Knowing. Many voices speak to us, and we speak back to them about what the I Am can see about being a living I Am in the Eternal Now. As the facilitator of my inner council of voices, I am alone; yet I live in an inward company of companions who also travel into a realization of the I Am that I also Am. This dialogue of Transparent Attention sees both the qualities of the I Am and our many escapes from it, our unconsciousness of and our resistance to being the being that we are. Transparent Attention notices the trustworthiness of Final Reality and the futility of our despairing fight with Reality. Both trust and despair are core topics of Transparent Attention. Transparent Attention can break through the habits of our personality-controlled mind and manifest as a state of being that happens to us from time to time. We can also journey into an enjoyment of Transparent Attention as a permanent station of the I Am that we never need to leave.

Reflection Questions

Read one of the lines from this reading that caught your attention.

Describe the 4 aspects of the I Am discussed in the opening section (1st 5 paragraphs) (Attentionality, Intentionality, Solitary, Together)

What is curiosity (6) What is Transparent Attention (6) How do you experience participating in Transparent Attention in your own real life

What are some of your earliest memories when you were sorting out and naming the various parts of you and the new world you were encountering

How do we know that we are a part of an All-encompassing Oneness (6) (by paying attention!)

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