Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Become What You Are

--by Alan Watts (Jun 13, 2006)

Begin with the practice of concentration, that is, of attentive looking. It is as if to say, "If you want to know what reality is, you must look directly at it and see for yourself. But this needs a certain kind of concentration, because reality is not symbols, it is not words and thoughts, it is not reflections and fantasies. Therefore to see it clearly, your mind must be free from wandering words and from the floating fantasies of memory." [...]

Now the great deal of talk about the difficulty of action, or the difficulty of concentration, is sheer nonsense. If we are sitting together at a meal, and I say to you, "Please pass the salt" –- you just do it, and there is no difficulty about it. You do not stop to consider the right method. You do not trouble yourself with the problem of how, when you have picked the saltshaker up, you are going to be able to concentrate on it long enough to bring it to my end of the table. Now there is absolutely no difference between this and concentrating the mind’s attention to see into the nature of reality. If you can concentrate the mind for two seconds, you can do it for two minutes, and you can do it for two hours. Of course, if you want to *make* this kind of thing horribly difficult, you begin to think about whether you are concentrating, about how long you have concentrated, and about how much longer you are going to keep it up, All this is totally off the point. Concentrate for one second. If, at the end of this time, your mind has wandered off, concentrate for another second, and then another. Nobody ever has to concentrate for more than one second –- this one. [...]

If you try to watch your mind concentrate, it will not concentrate. And if, when it is concentrated, you begin to watch for the arrival of some insight into reality, you have stopped concentrating. Real concentration is therefore a rather curious and seemingly paradoxical state, since it is at once the maximum of consciousness and the minimum of ego-feeling ... The only way to enter into this state is precipitately –- without delay or hesitation, just to do it.

--Alan Watts


Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when a comment is added on this passage.
Name: Email:

6 Previous Reflections:

 
On Jun 28, 2006 Nyamhinda D wrote:
I like the part which says,"...if you try to watch your mind concentrate, it will never concentrate".Watts, thats true!

On Jun 14, 2006 pappu wrote:
its true...just do it


On Jun 13, 2006 elissa wrote:
very powerful for me! thanks for sharing so much!

On Jun 13, 2006 Conrad Pritscher wrote:
I love the stuff you send and Watts is great.

On Jun 13, 2006 In Joy wrote:
I like this idea expressed by alan watts about concentrating for just one second.

in terms of words, for me the phrase "just be for one moment" is more accurate than "concentrate for one second."

On Jun 12, 2006 Lariv wrote:
Reminds me of a quote from the movie waking life (see link) , which, by the way, is a must see!

"To say yes to one moment is to say yes to all of eternity."