Anna hummingbirdWhen I say that I’m distracted, I usually mean that I’m not able to focus on the task at hand. As I write, the Anna and Rufous hummingbirds are chittering, holding territory wars over the feeder.

I look “distraction” up in the dictionary, and the clearest meaning is “that which divides the attention.” But can attention be divided? At the core, attention isn’t different from native awareness. We notice. In any moment, awareness notices the whole vast show. That display is made up of what humans parse into trillions of parts, and then label, but really, it is all one vastness. A clearer description might be that when attention is drawn away from the basic ground of all to the wild display, we see what the mind understands as parts—this and that.

I rest my view on the woods behind our home: one person might say that there are hundreds of trees growing there—oaks, maples, Doug firs, cottonwoods. Even though I can see the different species, I don’t feel hundreds of trees. I can no longer separate one tree from another because they have no true independence. When I attempt to follow one tree back, there is nothing in the manifested world from which it is separate. It’s dependent on air and sunlight, moisture, and the seed from which it grew—which is dependent on the tree before it, all of it dependent on the planet—which would not be fertile without the sunshine, and so on—a never-ending tracing back that dissolves into basic awareness.

Take a moment and look around. Instead of labeling and dividing as the mind is wont to do, move upstream into…

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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