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Chapter 51: Coming Back to Existence

But first attention has to be trained, because you have no attention at all. Your attention is just flickering, moving from this to that, from that to something further. Not for a single moment are you attentive. Even if I am talking here, you never hear all my words. You hear one word, then your attention goes somewhere else; then you come back, you hear another, then your attention goes somewhere else. You hear a few words, and you fill the gaps, and then you think you have heard me.

And whatsoever you carry with yourself, it is your own business, it is your own creation. Just a few words you have heard from me, and then you have filled the gaps, and whatsoever you fill in the gaps changes everything. I say a word, and you have started thinking about it. You cannot remain silent. If you can remain silent while hearing, you will become attentive.

Attention means a silent alertness with no thoughts interfering. Develop it. You can develop it only by doing it; there is no other way. Do it more and you will develop it. Doing anything, being anywhere, try to develop it.

You are traveling in a car, or in a train. What are you doing there? Try to develop attention; don’t waste time. For half an hour you will be in a train: develop attention. Just be there. Don’t think. Look at someone, look at the train or look outside, but be the look, don’t think anything. Stop thinking. Be there and look. Your look will become direct, penetrating, and from everywhere your look will be reflected back and you will become aware of the looker.

You are not aware of yourself because there is a wall. When you look at a flower, first your thoughts change your look; they give their own color. Then that look goes to the flower. It comes back, but then again your thoughts give it a different color. And when it comes back it never finds you there. You have moved somewhere else, you are not there.

Every look comes back; everything is reflected, responsed, but you are not there to receive it. So be there to receive it. The whole day you can try it on many things, and by and by you will develop attentiveness. With that attentiveness do this:

Wherever your attention alights,
at this very point,
experience.

Then look anywhere, but simply look. The attention has alighted - and you will experience yourself. But the first requirement is to have the capacity to be attentive. And you can practice it. There is no need for it to take some extra time.

Whatsoever you are doing - eating, taking a bath, standing under a shower - just be attentive. But what is the problem? The problem is that we do everything with the mind, and we are planning continuously for the future. You may be traveling in a train, but your mind may be arranging other journeys; programming, planning. Stop this.

One Zen monk, Bokuju, has said, “This is the only meditation I know. While I eat, I eat. While I walk, I walk. And while I feel sleepy, I sleep. Whatsoever happens, happens. I never interfere.”