The creative act of cultivating 'states of being' is arguably one of the most powerful skills to learn. States of peace, strength, relaxation, intention, trust, connection.
I keep coming back to a basic principle: that life is experience, and all experience happens in the present moment, and within that moment, experience can be shifted, through types of attention, movement and sensory conditioning. In this way can these states of being be accessed and reliable.
How then to align the 'human self', the social self, the cultural self, and this 'magical self', an enchanted experiencer, tuned by practice.
Direct experience, and the attendance to it, repeatedly shows itself to be effective in this...
But humans, marvelous as we are, need a good story. We need a good reason to turn and face the heavy and un-loved parts of ourselves. It is hard to admit discomfort, and anxiety, shame and grief. Our cultural context is very quick with its story about these things. The are the markings of failure, if you believe that spiel.
In fact, its a widely spread story that our direct experience isn't valuable at all, but rather we should be putting our attention elsewhere: on acquisition, materialism, accounting, justice, being smart and attractive, being 'in the know'. Feeling and sense are suspect and so sincerity is desperately rare.
As lots of people do, I'll continue offering a different story: that by and large, our sensory information is and should be our first point of call for practice and living: an embodied life.
That through feeling the small and hidden sense of things, the softest breath, and rustle of leaves, we can connect more deeply to life. That by moving slowly, we make more time, and that by relaxing we are better able to work. We can see miracles in each color and enjoy the marvel of water. We can dance with gravity and sense into the depth and richness of each movement.
It is not easy though, sometimes it can be like looking for a needle in a hay-stack. The mind says many things in these moments. "Yeah yeah I know that and these other things", or maybe "Oh shit, I can't sit still, that is actually terrifying". "That guy does it better", "She is more in tune with the cosmic goddess than me". Indeed: "How does this pay the bills".
And so on and on does the mind tell us what it thinks it knows about what we experience. Reflex story, I think, is the great obstacle to deepening embodiment.
What does the story show, and what does it hide? This can be a good question, the tough question, when we can all get very attached to our stories. We can forget that we are not only the story, that we are a great many things, adaptable, resilient, ancient.
The solution is patience, compassion and the ability to not take our thoughts so seriously. To be able to calmly say: "noted" to the screaming thoughts, but keep the feet planted and the attention focused on the direct experience, the direct perception.
To trust our experience, to risk finding something we didn't know was there, to risk being moved.
Perhaps this is the most difficult and rewarding thing.
Self-Inquiry: Attending to Oneself.
But where do we start? Perhaps the reality is that we can only achieve what the context allows us to. In this way are futures are pinned to the context we operate from. Does it not make sense then to really understand the context we are in first, and then decide on a course of action?
What if we think about the self as a context? Transforming the self transforms the context...
Where are you at?
Just stop what you're doing. Just stop and sit and watch what happens. Where does your attention go immediately? What is 10 meters from you to your right? And your left? What can you hear? What are you doing, what mission are you on?
Focus your attention on your breath. What did you notice? How do you feel? How do you feel about how you feel? Does your experience feel like your own? Is it valuable to you?
By giving attention to these things we show ourselves that it is important to us. Indeed, we are attending to ourselves on a very basic level.
Self-Inquiry is the practice of using the personal experience as a lens to contemplate reality. The very idea of this brings up some pretty big questions about what the point of life is at all. Many people will say that self inquiry is a selfish waste of time and achieves nothing. But that is their opinion, and we have the right to our own. Informed opinions are more effective than the opposite, so perhaps we should give it a try and then make up our own minds...
Ongoing practices of self inquiry have many significant effects, a few key ones include: an improved
sense of self worth, and a deepened sense of the relationship between our internal forces and their effects on our life. We learn about these correspondences through direct experience. By extension, our experience changes with this awareness. With effective practice, this effect will be positive and empowering, giving access to deeper personal resources.
There are several major dimensions of the experience of the self, including: thoughts, emotions, sensations and our experience of space and time. All of these are available for contemplation and transformation. Such practice deepens and refines our experience of these dimensions, enriching and transforming us over time. The direction our practice takes us, and the shape we become is determined by what and how we practice.
The basic tool for inquiry is our attention. Training the attention then, is the first point of call in self-inquiry. Inherent in this is the experience of the present moment, because focusing is by its very nature an act of being present. Just like any tool, we get better at using it over time. Another way to say this is that it gets sharper.
As we sharpen our attention, using our selves as the material of practice, we increase and consolidate our consciousness into an ever more present experience of ourselves. We grow in our ability to affect ourselves, inoculating against unwanted outside pressure, and improving our ability to discern the nature of influences on us. In this way we become liberated from the confusion of the many complicated and competing forces of the modern world.
As this process deepens, we will encounter dormant and powerful forces within. We must find a way to transmute these forces through expression and awareness, into the lessons of life that connect us to the sense of meaning that carries us through our challenges. If we have the time to accept these experiences of ourselves, we will have expanded and grown closer to our true nature. As we reach out and share our story, we contribute our thread to the wider weave of the human experience, all the more authentically because of our practice.
By this process of compassion for the full range of our experiences, we develop the ability to appreciate and have empathy for the experiences of others. We learn about the human experience through our own humanity.
Michael Maso Ellis
Mythology lends its self to acceptance as much as honesty, because mythology gives us a wider (trans-personal) perspective on our own story...mythology redeems through its scale. Perhaps we need honesty to find ourselves and our experience (interpreted metaphorically) in mythology?
I think ratio (myth/acceptance) is subjective and temporal, this is to say at any one time a gritty realism or a magical realism will be more appropriate. I know I'm not (only? ;)) an angel sent to earth, but it has been helpful to use that "metaphorical lens" at various specific times in the past. Similarly, at my darkest, I must accept my nothing, my filth, and my violence...but then I am a battleground for forces far beyond my petty human identity. The psychic landscape is deep and old, and acceptance or not, I will experience it.
Transformation is certainly made possible by a combination of acceptance and mythological thinking.
But perhaps the disciplined work of paving stone by paving stone is in fact an action (described, no doubt, as a stage of transformation in various mythological contexts), one that must exist and be fully surrendered to, no matter one's intellectual appreciation of the narrative/journey. Know the story but do the work? For me this is true...Thus maybe honesty inoculates against a presumptive identification with the mythology. Icarus?
Mythology is best used reflectively, but I must not forget that the map is not the territory. I am where I am, and in relation to the whole I am validated, but I am not where I am not, no amount of wishing will make it so.
"Myth gives us the option of faith, and provides the pieces of the puzzle, but we must work humbly nevertheless."
Iron Hans - Brothers Grimm
There was once upon a time a king who had a great forest near his palace, full of all kinds of wild animals. One day he sent out a huntsman to shoot him a roe, but he did not come back. ’Perhaps some accident has befallen him,’ said the king, and the next day he sent out two more huntsmen who were to search for him, but they too stayed away. Then on the third day, he sent for all his huntsmen, and said: ’Scour the whole forest through, and do not give up until you have found all three.’ But of these also, none came home again, none were seen again. From that time forth, no one would any longer venture into the forest, and it lay there in deep stillness and solitude, and nothing was seen of it, but sometimes an eagle or a hawk flying over it. This lasted for many years, when an unknown huntsman announced himself to the king as seeking a situation, and offered to go into the dangerous forest. The king, however, would not give his consent, and said: ’It is not safe in there; I fear it would fare with you no better than with the others, and you would never come out again.’ The huntsman replied: ’Lord, I will venture it at my own risk, of fear I know nothing.’
The huntsman therefore betook himself with his dog to the forest. It was not long before the dog fell in with some game on the way, and wanted to pursue it; but hardly had the dog run two steps when it stood before a deep pool, could go no farther, and a naked arm stretched itself out of the water, seized it, and drew it under. When the huntsman saw that, he went back and fetched three men to come with buckets and bale out the water. When they could see to the bottom there lay a wild man whose body was brown like rusty iron, and whose hair hung over his face down to his knees. They bound him with cords, and led him away to the castle. There was great astonishment over the wild man; the king, however, had him put in an iron cage in his courtyard, and forbade the door to be opened on pain of death, and the queen herself was to take the key into her keeping. And from this time forth everyone could again go into the forest with safety.
The king had a son of eight years, who was once playing in the courtyard, and while he was playing, his golden ball fell into the cage. The boy ran thither and said: ’Give me my ball out.’ ’Not till you have opened the door for me,’ answered the man. ’No,’ said the boy, ’I will not do that; the king has forbidden it,’ and ran away. The next day he again went and asked for his ball; the wild man said: ’Open my door,’ but the boy would not. On the third day the king had ridden out hunting, and the boy went once more and said: ’I cannot open the door even if I wished, for I have not the key.’ Then the wild man said: ’It lies under your mother’s pillow, you can get it there.’ The boy, who wanted to have his ball back, cast all thought to the winds, and brought the key. The door opened with difficulty, and the boy pinched his fingers. When it was open the wild man stepped out, gave him the golden ball, and hurried away. The boy had become afraid; he called and cried after him: ’Oh, wild man, do not go away, or I shall be beaten!’ The wild man turned back, took him up, set him on his shoulder, and went with hasty steps into the forest. When the king came home, he observed the empty cage, and asked the queen how that had happened. She knew nothing about it, and sought the key, but it was gone. She called the boy, but no one answered. The king sent out people to seek for him in the fields, but they did not find him. Then he could easily guess what had happened, and much grief reigned in the royal court.
When the wild man had once more reached the dark forest, he took the boy down from his shoulder, and said to him: ’You will never see your father and mother again, but I will keep you with me, for you have set me free, and I have compassion on you. If you do all I bid you, you shall fare well. Of treasure and gold have I enough, and more than anyone in the world.’ He made a bed of moss for the boy on which he slept, and the next morning the man took him to a well, and said: ’Behold, the gold well is as bright and clear as crystal, you shall sit beside it, and take care that nothing falls into it, or it will be polluted. I will come every evening to see if you have obeyed my order.’ The boy placed himself by the brink of the well, and often saw a golden fish or a golden snake show itself therein, and took care that nothing fell in. As he was thus sitting, his finger hurt him so violently that he involuntarily put it in the water. He drew it quickly out again, but saw that it was quite gilded, and whatsoever pains he took to wash the gold off again, all was to no purpose. In the evening Iron Hans came back, looked at the boy, and said: ’What has happened to the well?’ ’Nothing nothing,’ he answered, and held his finger behind his back, that the man might not see it. But he said: ’You have dipped your finger into the water, this time it may pass, but take care you do not again let anything go in.’ By daybreak the boy was already sitting by the well and watching it. His finger hurt him again and he passed it over his head, and then unhappily a hair fell down into the well. He took it quickly out, but it was already quite gilded. Iron Hans came, and already knew what had happened. ’You have let a hair fall into the well,’ said he. ’I will allow you to watch by it once more, but if this happens for the third time then the well is polluted and you can no longer remain with me.’
On the third day, the boy sat by the well, and did not stir his finger, however much it hurt him. But the time was long to him, and he looked at the reflection of his face on the surface of the water. And as he still bent down more and more while he was doing so, and trying to look straight into the eyes, his long hair fell down from his shoulders into the water. He raised himself up quickly, but the whole of the hair of his head was already golden and shone like the sun. You can imagine how terrified the poor boy was! He took his pocket- handkerchief and tied it round his head, in order that the man might not see it. When he came he already knew everything, and said: ’Take the handkerchief off.’ Then the golden hair streamed forth, and let the boy excuse himself as he might, it was of no use. ’You have not stood the trial and can stay here no longer. Go forth into the world, there you will learn what poverty is. But as you have not a bad heart, and as I mean well by you, there is one thing I will grant you; if you fall into any difficulty, come to the forest and cry: “Iron Hans,” and then I will come and help you. My power is great, greater than you think, and I have gold and silver in abundance.’
Then the king’s son left the forest, and walked by beaten and unbeaten paths ever onwards until at length he reached a great city. There he looked for work, but could find none, and he learnt nothing by which he could help himself. At length he went to the palace, and asked if they would take him in. The people about court did not at all know what use they could make of him, but they liked him, and told him to stay. At length the cook took him into his service, and said he might carry wood and water, and rake the cinders together. Once when it so happened that no one else was at hand, the cook ordered him to carry the food to the royal table, but as he did not like to let his golden hair be seen, he kept his little cap on. Such a thing as that had never yet come under the king’s notice, and he said: ’When you come to the royal table you must take your hat off.’ He answered: ’Ah, Lord, I cannot; I have a bad sore place on my head.’ Then the king had the cook called before him and scolded him, and asked how he could take such a boy as that into his service; and that he was to send him away at once. The cook, however, had pity on him, and exchanged him for the gardener’s boy.
And now the boy had to plant and water the garden, hoe and dig, and bear the wind and bad weather. Once in summer when he was working alone in the garden, the day was so warm he took his little cap off that the air might cool him. As the sun shone on his hair it glittered and flashed so that the rays fell into the bedroom of the king’s daughter, and up she sprang to see what that could be. Then she saw the boy, and cried to him: ’Boy, bring me a wreath of flowers.’ He put his cap on with all haste, and gathered wild field-flowers and bound them together. When he was ascending the stairs with them, the gardener met him, and said: ’How can you take the king’s daughter a garland of such common flowers? Go quickly, and get another, and seek out the prettiest and rarest.’ ’Oh, no,’ replied the boy, ’the wild ones have more scent, and will please her better.’ When he got into the room, the king’s daughter said: ’Take your cap off, it is not seemly to keep it on in my presence.’ He again said: ’I may not, I have a sore head.’ She, however, caught at his cap and pulled it off, and then his golden hair rolled down on his shoulders, and it was splendid to behold. He wanted to run out, but she held him by the arm, and gave him a handful of ducats. With these he departed, but he cared nothing for the gold pieces. He took them to the gardener, and said: ’I present them to your children, they can play with them.’ The following day the king’s daughter again called to him that he was to bring her a wreath of field-flowers, and then he went in with it, she instantly snatched at his cap, and wanted to take it away from him, but he held it fast with both hands. She again gave him a handful of ducats, but he would not keep them, and gave them to the gardener for playthings for his children. On the third day things went just the same; she could not get his cap away from him, and he would not have her money.
Not long afterwards, the country was overrun by war. The king gathered together his people, and did not know whether or not he could offer any opposition to the enemy, who was superior in strength and had a mighty army. Then said the gardener’s boy: ’I am grown up, and will go to the wars also, only give me a horse.’ The others laughed, and said: ’Seek one for yourself when we are gone, we will leave one behind us in the stable for you.’ When they had gone forth, he went into the stable, and led the horse out; it was lame of one foot, and limped hobblety jib, hobblety jib; nevertheless he mounted it, and rode away to the dark forest. When he came to the outskirts, he called ’Iron Hans’ three times so loudly that it echoed through the trees. Thereupon the wild man appeared immediately, and said: ’What do you desire?’ ’I want a strong steed, for I am going to the wars.’ ’That you shall have, and still more than you ask for.’ Then the wild man went back into the forest, and it was not long before a stable-boy came out of it, who led a horse that snorted with its nostrils, and could hardly be restrained, and behind them followed a great troop of warriors entirely equipped in iron, and their swords flashed in the sun. The youth made over his three-legged horse to the stable-boy, mounted the other, and rode at the head of the soldiers. When he got near the battlefield a great part of the king’s men had already fallen, and little was wanting to make the rest give way. Then the youth galloped thither with his iron soldiers, broke like a hurricane over the enemy, and beat down all who opposed him. They began to flee, but the youth pursued, and never stopped, until there was not a single man left. Instead of returning to the king, however, he conducted his troop by byways back to the forest, and called forth Iron Hans. ’What do you desire?’ asked the wild man. ’Take back your horse and your troops, and give me my three-legged horse again.’ All that he asked was done, and soon he was riding on his three-legged horse. When the king returned to his palace, his daughter went to meet him, and wished him joy of his victory. ’I am not the one who carried away the victory,’ said he, ’but a strange knight who came to my assistance with his soldiers.’ The daughter wanted to hear who the strange knight was, but the king did not know, and said: ’He followed the enemy, and I did not see him again.’ She inquired of the gardener where his boy was, but he smiled, and said: ’He has just come home on his three- legged horse, and the others have been mocking him, and crying: “Here comes our hobblety jib back again!” They asked, too: “Under what hedge have you been lying sleeping all the time?” So he said: “I did the best of all, and it would have gone badly without me.” And then he was still more ridiculed.’
The king said to his daughter: ’I will proclaim a great feast that shall last for three days, and you shall throw a golden apple. Perhaps the unknown man will show himself.’ When the feast was announced, the youth went out to the forest, and called Iron Hans. ’What do you desire?’ asked he. ’That I may catch the king’s daughter’s golden apple.’ ’It is as safe as if you had it already,’ said Iron Hans. ’You shall likewise have a suit of red armour for the occasion, and ride on a spirited chestnut-horse.’ When the day came, the youth galloped to the spot, took his place amongst the knights, and was recognized by no one. The king’s daughter came forward, and threw a golden apple to the knights, but none of them caught it but he, only as soon as he had it he galloped away.
On the second day Iron Hans equipped him as a white knight, and gave him a white horse. Again he was the only one who caught the apple, and he did not linger an instant, but galloped off with it. The king grew angry, and said: ’That is not allowed; he must appear before me and tell his name.’ He gave the order that if the knight who caught the apple, should go away again they should pursue him, and if he would not come back willingly, they were to cut him down and stab him.
On the third day, he received from Iron Hans a suit of black armour and a black horse, and again he caught the apple. But when he was riding off with it, the king’s attendants pursued him, and one of them got so near him that he wounded the youth’s leg with the point of his sword. The youth nevertheless escaped from them, but his horse leapt so violently that the helmet fell from the youth’s head, and they could see that he had golden hair. They rode back and announced this to the king.
The following day the king’s daughter asked the gardener about his boy. ’He is at work in the garden; the queer creature has been at the festival too, and only came home yesterday evening; he has likewise shown my children three golden apples which he has won.’
The king had him summoned into his presence, and he came and again had his little cap on his head. But the king’s daughter went up to him and took it off, and then his golden hair fell down over his shoulders, and he was so handsome that all were amazed. ’Are you the knight who came every day to the festival, always in different colours, and who caught the three golden apples?’ asked the king. ’Yes,’ answered he, ’and here the apples are,’ and he took them out of his pocket, and returned them to the king. ’If you desire further proof, you may see the wound which your people gave me when they followed me. But I am likewise the knight who helped you to your victory over your enemies.’ ’If you can perform such deeds as that, you are no gardener’s boy; tell me, who is your father?’ ’My father is a mighty king, and gold have I in plenty as great as I require.’ ’I well see,’ said the king, ’that I owe my thanks to you; can I do anything to please you?’ ’Yes,’ answered he, ’that indeed you can. Give me your daughter to wife.’ The maiden laughed, and said: ’He does not stand much on ceremony, but I have already seen by his golden hair that he was no gardener’s boy,’ and then she went and kissed him. His father and mother came to the wedding, and were in great delight, for they had given up all hope of ever seeing their dear son again. And as they were sitting at the marriage-feast, the music suddenly stopped, the doors opened, and a stately king came in with a great retinue. He went up to the youth, embraced him and said: ’I am Iron Hans, and was by enchantment a wild man, but you have set me free; all the treasures which I possess, shall be your property.’
We live in exciting times! Never before have we had such freedom to write and right our own stories. The resources available to the discerning individual are great and varied. We have time to have a good hard look at our experiences and what they mean to us...
And where are most people before they embark on a critical trans-formative process? The strengths of the times are also the challenges. Vast information and conflicting value systems and powerful global forces combine to create a potentially overwhelming context to respond to as a growing individual. Our education system runs on top down industry orientated principles that homogenize and ostracize. Our cultural history is laden with the trauma of world wars, colonialism and the destruction of natural beauty and ancient cultures. The world our parents grew in, and their parents before them, is gone, but the legacy remains. Each generation has thrust upon them the psychic material from the past...
It has been my great pleasure to find myself in service of the Story, that ephemeral realm of character, setting, and process. Stories and storytelling are arguably what makes us human, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on narrative, paradigm and dare I even say it 'truth'. What I find to be particularly significant, is that a story both serves and obscures, it is a map, and a blindfold. Life experiences often impress upon me the importance of a trans-contextual, and indeed integrative approach to stories. It is no secret that there are patterns that shine forth from the apparent chaos. One only has to look with an eye for similarity, rather than difference, and patterns, large enough to encompass the spectrum of human experience, appear. Pattern recognition is that delightful part of human intelligence that showers grace on the fussy beggar of the mind. Here, and in moments like this, there is something that leaps out at us, a cartographer's sense of order. The full territory may not be mapped, but there is enough ink on the page to know, at the very least, that there are indeed dragons, and by god someone else noticed too!
So, having survived a desperate longing for...belonging, in a world of maddening complexity, how can I best transmit that which helped me to settle into a sense of safety? Well, if not safety then at least an invigoration in the face of uncertainty. Determining the difference between the two seems unnecessary, given the effect is the same; a desire to share the wonder and scale of a story that allows for both safety and challenge, that cutting edge of a life that expresses itself in totality, in a present moment that is born of two mothers: the falling and the flying, the speaking and the listening.
Metaphor and symbol could well be thought of as gods. We could erect great statues in honor of the divinity of these fundamental elements of experience itself. Such majesty in seeing through the titanic eyes of these gods. What does a thing represent? What do a few things, in relation to each-other represent? The pattern speaks to us with these voices. And importantly, us, not some abstract sense of what a person is, but to us in our personal experience. Somehow, and this seems miraculous, metaphors and symbols speak from the abstract to the personal in an inclusive way. However, we need to have the courage to allow our personas the required flexibility to be seen! This is to say, omens are many, if we want to hear what they say. Their messages come hidden in plain sight in all experiences.
The liminal zone, that space between worlds, is the comfort of some, and unknown to others. There is, at any moment, a source of importance, a mysterious fuel that feeds a fire in the consciousness of experience. Harnessing this substance, the very feeling of 'emphasis', 'meaningness', 'significance', is the act of connecting to the unknown powers within and without. The shape of the fire is not so important as knowing how to catch this essential spark.
How then do we seize this dragon-fire? The terrible truth is, without facing the fearsome beast itself, ourselves, we don't really know what the fire is. Do we need to be burned in order to understand the power of fire? Challenge is a double edged sword, slaying and discerning. Fear does strange things to one's sense of importance. Avoidance is the other face of fascination...the very thing we turn away from is the gatekeeper to the tunnel through obstruction. Death, disillusion and the void await the courageous explorer.
Rebuilding, reigniting, carrying the torch out of the dark forest, branches scratching ones face maybe, fleeing the wolves of truth maybe, we return by choice or perhaps we fall straight back to the dinner table, and no-one even notices we were gone. How do we know what we found? We found it, nobody else, so it falls to us to speak it. As we hear ourselves tell our travels, we find that we are not so different after all. That lots of dragons have been encountered, and lots of fires reclaimed.
What have you found? Where did you go to find it? How did you get there?
I build a fire, to catch a spark. The spark was thine, by the fire is mine. The wood is hers, and I lay down my furs. A dance of dust, with feet of land, and the breath of light, in wizard's hand.
These are words, for shaping worlds, but tongues that speak long grow weak. Shorter still, the best in town, I laugh and laugh...a shadow clown. Wild dogs run circles nearby. Will you dare come closer? There are seats, one for you and me. Lets share this night, and this burning tree.
Creative Mentoring and Personal Mythology
The Nuts and Bolts of Creative Meditation - Pt2 Spiritual Psychology and Finding Your Centre
Intuitive or Personal Meditation
The space itself, and the dimension of Spatial-Awareness, within which spatial intelligence takes place, is available to all people. The malleability of the neural pathways and enerrgy is universal. Experience happens within space, inner or outer, and we can perceive the non-conceptual truth in our proximity, and further. Perhaps the real trick is making our presenting spatial experience important enough to warrant attention. This means we have to let go of the social masking that has such a strong affect on our attention and behavior. This is by no means easy, and requires patience and compassion, and above all courage. However, we can allow ourselves to rest in the knowledge that within us is the hardware inherited from our evolutionary past. The natural context of the wild human demanded a full spectrum of spatial experience, alertness and presence. Survival depends on it, and survive we do! Humanity has evolved for a high degree of spatial-intelligence, and the resources that ensured our survival are ready to be explored and enjoyed should we desire.
This type of approach to experience requires that we let go of as much of our modern conditioning on our behavior as possible. If we want to experience a creative consciousness in the space, we need to have a good grounding in the raw material itself. Rawness is mysterious, it is unshaped by humanity, it is potent, primal and downright scary. Uncertainty has a funny way of triggering a jump to a conceptual safety, but the deeper we can allow the raw spatial experience to be, the more of reality shows itself to us.
Foundation of Practice
Establishing a direct connection to the raw spatial experience in Meditation Practices can be difficult in the modern context. There is usually powerful conditions that will hijack the will-power and prescribe importance to our attention. Indeed, attention is a commodity to be bought and sold. Our attention has value! Powerful forces are at work to sculpt our neural maps. There are techniques available to us to reclaim first the familiarity with our own personal consciousness (attention), and then gain the proficiency to wield our attention willingly and consciously. As with all skills, we can become very good at it! But we have to overcome challenges and persist in order to really understand the empowerment of any skill.
Developing an understanding of the fundamental parameters within which technique takes place is a good place to start learning from. Put simply, start simple, but with an awareness of the larger context. Permaculture principles in gardening are good example. We do well to know the ground before we plant in it, including rainfall and sunlight hours etc...