Simone Weil: Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity

 

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

– Simone Weil

It is certainly a form of generosity.

Attention determines what’s in focus for us in the moment, so choosing to bring something into focus in that way – whether it’s an experience, someone else, or awareness itself – is a form of generosity.

May my life be for the benefit of all beings

 

During the initial awakening phase, this was a daily and ongoing prayer:

May my life be for the benefit of all beings.

And during the next phase, the dark night, it went in the background. My resources went more to my own immediate concerns, and that’s very understandable.

Now, it seems to gradually come back.

May my life be for the benefit of all beings.

It’s a natural wish. It’s the other side of the coin of wishing to live from clarity and love. It’s what tends to happen when I live more from clarity, sincerity, and love. And it feels much better to find love and well wishing for myself, others and the world.

And it’s also a natural wish when it’s all seen as a seamless whole.

Finding love for others is finding love for myself. Anything I see in others is something I can find in myself. So why not find love for it? Not finding love is painful and creates separation, finding love feels nurturing, is freeing, and gives me a sense of coming home. More practically, by finding love for my own images, thoughts, emotions and sensations, there is a natural love for the wider world.

My images of the world is – in a very real sense – my world, the world as it appears to me. These are the images I live with, and the world I live with. So why not wish the best for these images? Why not find love for them, as they are?

What I am is what the world – what thought may call inner and outer – happens within and as, and that includes any image or sense of an I, and identification with this or not.

In addition, the prayer helps me notice any resistance to it, welcome this resistance, see it comes from an innocent wish to protect me and love, and notice and perhaps inquire into any beliefs here and find what’s more true for me. And these beliefs may be that it’s better to live for the benefit of all beings, that it’s possible, that it’s not possible, that something terrible will happen if I do, that I am not up to it, etc.

This prayer also helps me explore my own images and thoughts of what I see as helpful and not, perhaps take a closer look at them, and notice that reality is free of any of these assumptions.

Receptivity, generosity and the three centers.

 

There are many facets of the deepening into who (individual humans) and what (awake emptiness) we are, and one of these is generosity.

A deepening into who and what we are involves receptivity at the three centers, and the other side of the coin of receptivity is generosity…

  • At the head center, receptivity takes the form of sincerity, an interest in the truths of each of the different reversals of any statement, and also a noticing of the inherent neutrality of any situation. And the generosity here is in not staying with any fixed view or perspective, but sincerely exploring the truth in whatever views and perspectives come up in others. The views of others are very often some variation of the reversals of the stories that more often come up in ourselves. There is a generosity in sincerely acknowledging the truth in the views of others, and including that in our own view, allowing ourselves to be more fluid among the different reversals of any story.
  • At the heart center, receptivity takes the form of recognition and empathy, and this too is a form of generosity. There is a generosity in finding ourselves in others, and others in ourselves, and allowing empathy come up from that recognition. And there is also a generosity in seeing all as Spirit, as God’s will, as the fluid form aspect of God itself.
  • At the belly center, receptivity takes the form of a deep felt-sense trust in life and existence. And here too there is generosity, in its sense of deeply nurturing fullness and abundance (and in the absence of the core fear, reactivity, and a separate self to protect).

In terms of activity in the world, this receptivity and generosity is expressed in the ways mentioned above, and also in terms of generosity of time and energy. As there is less and less of a sense of a separate self, fever and fever stuck views, fever situations and people the heart is closed towards, and less emotional reactivity, there is naturally a life lived for life itself… in whatever ways that come up in the situation.

Our circle of care, concern and compassion widens, the boundary between the health and well-being of the larger (social/ecological) whole and ourselves (as this individual) dissolves. Our actions becomes, naturally, more and more self-less (without a reference to fixed views and identifications), as we realize more and more that there is no separate self here.

In the absence of identifications, life is expressed in our own life as love for itself – as love for life.