In Persian mythology, the Zend Avesta, there is a rooster, Paroderes, who yells the following each morning:
“Cockadoodledoo! Wake now, because if you do not wake up now, then never will! The demon of coma comes and drags you away.”
This rooster introduced the principle of alertness – just like Buddha did.
We have lost the ability to observe, to direct our attention. It is a known fact that we can focus our minds on one thing for 5-7 seconds only.
Our alertness decreases after a few seconds of close attention, then the thoughts appear; our eyes still see the object, but we do not know about it. We completely identify with the world of our thoughts.
You and your world become what you focus on!
If all that matters to you are wealth and looks, you identify yourself with a temporary, suffering body.
Now we focus on our hiding inner intelligence, to see the world through the eyes of consciousness.
Try to follow the flame of a candle with conscious attention:
Find a candle, light it and place it in a comfortable distance from you to observe it undisturbed. Relax and examine the flame of the candle. Follow the dance of this little flame whenever it moves with a gentle breeze. Do not be hard on yourself if your attention slips off. Calmly direct it back to the candlelight.
Now pay attention! Be very alert! Your attention should be relaxed and sharp. Use your sense organs: seeing, hearing, feeling of heat, watch your environment!
Hear every little noise around you, feel the movements of the air, be present and listen! Be aware, like you were expecting something very important to happen: it may be only a small buzzing or a passing shadow – it would definitely have a strong influence on your life!
A Zen koan (an enlightening question, riddle) goes like this:
“The sound two palms make when colliding is a clap. But what sound does one palm make?”
The meditator thinking about the Zen koan works really hard on the solution: he comes up with many smart, philosophical or artistic answers – but none of them is right. The sound of one palm is not a poetical metaphor, it is a shout to get your attention:
Listen so close, that you hear the sound one palm makes!
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