Observe or Notice?

Mystics always talk about observing but observing requires a narrow focus. When you observe there is a me here observing that there. While we are locked into that the attention is exclusive, for what happens to the breath in my body, the tweet of the sparrow on my roof, the soft orange cushion next to me, the energy buzzing in my feet, the feel of warm saliva in my mouth, the little crashes on the construction site at the end of the road, the yellow wheat field on the front cover of the travel book by my feet, the long skirting boards which delight my eyes as they point to space, the space in which everything happens, if I am only observing one thing? Observe? Yes, that is useful but better even is that I notice, notice it all. Observing excludes and has a push to it, a contraction in the cells. Noticing includes, opens, softens, accepts, sees, bes.

Mystics say observe the self but see the hard, intense, excluding feeling that brings about. Try instead to just notice it and see the difference.


A warm thudding in my belly, as I remind myself of the frosty wintry landscape of England; the call of pheasants in the damp woods, flopping leaves of sugarbeet and the icy sky of East Anglia; somewhere there is a cosy farmhouse with ochre beams where they are readying for Christmas, glad to be inside, out of the cold, while I sit here in an attic flat in Spain listening to little water bubbles in the radiators, to a flowing traffic and my mind passes through highlights of today's park walk - a line of crackling yellow poplar trees in front of a blue sky, blue and yellow, blue and yellow.

My mouth is just wet enough; my body is just warm enough, my mood is just calm enough and while I keep looking inside, scanning every force and activity I become the looking, not the viewer.


My eyes finds a pattern of long neat ridges in my dark fawn socks, then move to the tip of the toe, to a thin woolly ether whose strands are set rigidly to the left like a coastal tree whose branches grow according to the prevailing wind. There is a minor hum in my bottom inner gum, not a pain, more a call, a bleat for attention. What if the tongue had optic nerves, I wonder, would it delight in the black space between my teeth, then delight further when I smile and when the sun shines through? The denim on my knees is tight. My knees are fine dishes which fuzz- I think of water running through a laberynth . My shins don't fuzz, they hum their existential joy. The calves are near dizzy; they run blood river races, I imagine. Then a creak in the roof sends my eyes to the sky, was there a blue ever more in love with itself? The pane is a field of dust, where large white specks have found a home, where they appear as stars in a blue sky. Finally I feel the warm milky strands that run through the whole show.

Staying Alive

The chest is loose, the head is a little hot and there's a pulsation in the lips. A pain arrives in the mid back and the left heel is weighed down by the right foot. The eyes are getting bigger and wetter. They pull in the compact grey TV and the skinny lamp and the spiky plant. A violet blanket covers a chair which throws a warm shadow to the fawn floorboards. I feel my head getting hotter and heavier and tighter then, with a lightning switch of attention, my ears collect three sounds- the tapping of a neighbour, the rush of a passing car and the gurgle of a radiator. My belly breathes out joyously and I start to feel a tickling in my brain, my limbs sink into the couch and a thin stream of excitement runs up my stomach to my chest. Once again, I am alive.


A dark blue dictionary, blue and turqoise shirts dangling on the clothes horse, electric blue light on the DVD cover, a cornflower blue flash on my track-suit top, a black veneered table greyed with dust, my hands tingle, my teeth ache a little. One foot rests on another and where they meet there is a solid warmth. The burgundy throw on the sofa has a ribbed centre section where particles of grass, leaves and tiny strings of fabric rest. My jaw is coming alive, thawing out. Just a little pressure in my right temple secures my passing attention, then the neat sections of parquet floor come into view. They are golden and grainy and beautifully still. In my belly there is heat, in my shoulders there is weight, in my head there is a tautness. I am undeniably here, undeniably alive. There is nothing more.

Why Add Belief To Perfection?

Belief is filter. It selects things that support it and rejects things that don't. It pulls you to circumstances that support it and keeps you away from ones that don't. Then you can say "I was right". And then what happens? The belief gets stronger and is converted into a fact or even a Truth with a capital T and then maybe the person carrying it all his life is called wise because he is always "Right"

What is the enemy of belief? Consciousness. As soon as it is spotted as being nothing but a belief it cannot survive. How can you be conscious? By slowing down, widening your attention, and really looking. But the belief is clever. It knows what its enemy is. So it will keep you busy; it will let you invent religions, philosophies, join clubs, start occupations , choose certain friends and marriage partners, anything to keep itself alive.

A belief list-some observed in others and some in myself:

You must be careful with money.
You must find a partner with whom you are completely compatible.
Don't leave you job without finding another one.
People shouldn't ......
Work hard and you'll do well.
Be punctual
Be faithful
Be respectful
Cold weather isn't nice.
It's cold.
It's not right.
Express your emotions.
English people are ...
You are....
This is...

The fallacy of charisma

Charisma when viewed outside of the conditioning of it being a positive quality is revealed as being nothing more than a hard projection of a person's border lines, his limits, his fears manifested into some pervasive energy gas. Charisma is the feel of his narrow focus of attention intruding on the atmosphere. It is noticed or perceived because it is powerful. The perceiver collapses under its spell and is hypnotically drawn into the transmitter, then enters the intoxicated delusion that he is in the company of something important, better, a strength, a presence of note.

Psuedo Perception 1

In the yard of a sugarbeet factory I neared the shovel with a strange nervousness and as it came into sharp focus I was hit by a wave of new perceptions. First, a ghastly silent scream, as though its entire form and existence was a call from some previous pain, some previous wrongness I had witnessed. As I looked again I saw the sharp cold corners of the blade and the mottled surface where flakes of metal had disappeared and a million scratches and stains existed. I looked away then back, then away, then back. It was alive, and not external to me. It rumbled quietly from inside me It moved an inch closer and started to pervade my entire psyche with an out-of-this-world technique, possessing me, swimming in my veins. I moved a little, but now I was like metal, crunching and creaking. When I picked it up I did so with a cringe as my hands wrapped around its smooth wooden handle. I had a reptile in my hands and if I let go it would coil up and strike, so I squeezed as hard as I could to silently suffocate it, and when I launched it into the pile of beet I grunted so that I wouldn’t hear it’s death scream. I could then carry on shovelling with a dead entity in my hands but the metal in my body would slowly flake away and a looseness would return.

Include It All

I start with the golden door handle then spread out my attention to its shadow, then to the crackly wallpaper, the hard white ceiling, to the soft sheen on the bedside table, to the dark knot on its leg, to the drifting white smoke out the window, to to the sound of rumbling traffic, the fuzz in my right ear, the rigidity of my jaw, the post-coffee bubbling in my stomach, the taste of toast sweetening one tooth, a gentle pins and needles in a lazy left leg, barely perceptible tingling in my lips, the cold pressure in my thumb nail, the apparently miraculous rising and falling of my stomach, the purple hue of the blue in my veins on my hands, the space between my fingers- beautiful tapering darkness, I know I am alive.

I remind the resident brain machine that attention is the greatest tool given us, I state it as though I am writing it ....that all problems and dramas are only apparent through a narrow focus of attention. Let's test it, I say aloud with a sort of high pitched Germanic enthusiasm. I focus on the oily orange candle by my bed, What is happening? I say aloud and with a wordless recognition I see that a that-candle-and-me has arisen. I spread my attention out to the senses and the body and the vibrant shapes, forms and and colours all around me, and the smells and the sounds of the city and the sensations in my body and that Meness and thatness disappear.

In my head I turn over a leaf in a book called notes on light and I write: Some sages have said that habitual thinking is the problem, but when the moment should allow gently notice that it is not thinking that is habitual but the move of attention to the mind...notice that when my attention goes to the mind I start thinking and when it moves to that candle ask where is the thinking? That's right. It has gone. Spread out the attention, don't fight the thinking, nor the pain in the body, nor the pain in your heart. Include it in the awareness of everything that is happening. Don't tighten your attention around you and your problems but include them in the great spanning awareness of this complete event of aliveness now.

I lower my virtual pen and let it dribble down on to a leather pad. I hear a gentle thud then let my eyes take in the tiny scuffs in the red leather. The sun shines through a leaded window and turns a small section of the leather to a faded orange. I include a thought of a waxy green leaf on a tree in Spanish grove. I include the tank of sensations in my stomach and the lure of a certain doing, in a certain far-awayness, then I slump into a silent bliss on my giant red duvet until a fly finds my nose.