Becoming Perceptive · Reflecting

Another look at attention

Attention is the beginning of contemplation, or rather its necessary condition: for, through attention, God comes close and reveals Himself to the mind. Attention is serenity of the mind, or rather it’s standing firmly planted and not wandering, through the gift of God’s mercy.
—Nicephorus the Solitary (from Center for Action and Contemplation, Richard Rohr Daily Meditation: Contemplative Prayer is Nothing New email on February 27, 2023)

Becoming Perceptive · Creating


“Everybody is invited. When you say ‘creative people,’ it’s redundant. We are creativity. And we’ve done a great disservice to bifurcate it. And one of the things I’ve been saying a lot to people is that we keep telling people to follow their passion and I feel that that can be an intimidating and an almost cruel thing to say to people at times because first of all if somebody has one central powerful burning passion, they’re probably already following it because that’s sort of the definition of passion is that you don’t have a choice. If you don’t, which is a lot of people, have one central burning passion and somebody tells you to follow your passion, I think you have the right to give them the finger…because it just makes you feel worse. So I always say to people, forget it. If you don’t have an obvious passion, forget about it. Follow your curiosity. Because passion is sort of a tower of flame that is not always accessible and curiosity is something that anybody can access any day. Your curiosity may lead you to your passion or it may not, it may have been for air quotes ‘nothing’ in which case all you’ve done your entire life is spend your existence in pursuit of things that made you feel curious and inspired. And that should be good enough. Like if you get to do that, that’s a wonderful way to spend your time here.” (emphasis mine)

–transcribed from “The Source of Creativity,” TED Radio Hour, “Elizabeth Gilbert: Where does creativity come from?”, December 27, 2019

Becoming Perceptive · Words

“…deepen this intentionality and this attention…”

“…I was really interested in the way that the “I” deepened the more you paid attention. In Galapagos, I began to realize that because I was in deeply attentive states, hour after hour, watching animals and birds and landscapes — and that’s all I did for almost two years — I began to realize that my identity depended not upon any beliefs I had, inherited beliefs or manufactured beliefs, but my identity actually depended on how much attention I was paying to things that were other than myself — and that as you deepen this intentionality and this attention, you started to broaden and deepen your own sense of presence.

I began to realize that the only places where things were actually real was at this frontier between what you think is you and what you think is not you, that whatever you desire of the world will not come to pass exactly as you will like it. But the other mercy is that whatever the world desires of you will also not come to pass, and what actually occurs is this meeting, this frontier. But it’s astonishing how much time human beings spend away from that frontier, abstracting themselves out of their bodies, out of their direct experience, and out of a deeper, broader, and wider possible future that’s waiting for them if they hold the conversation at that frontier level. Half of what’s about to occur is unknown both inside you and outside you. John O’Donohue, a mutual friend of both of us, used to say that one of the necessary tasks is this radical letting alone of yourself in the world, letting the world speak in its own voice and letting this deeper sense of yourself speak out.”

—David Whyte, On Being with Krista Tippett

Becoming Perceptive · Reflecting · Words

Read about the “Wood Wide Web”–you’ll be glad you did


The Understory