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Monday, July 9, 2012

Focus Or Let Go?

When I saw the television footage of Nik Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls I instantly knew that acquaintances would comment on his religious mantra. And it was so. What I grasped in parallel, however, was that his odes to the Christian deities need not be conceived as religious as much as they were a necessary step of his humble focus. In order to survive he had to let go. He had trained for years precisely for the stunt, but its successful execution in the telling last half hour required that he allay any nervousness and cast aside negative and distracting thoughts. And that is the same as saying that he had to give up the notion that he was in control over the immense monster of a waterway and its localized temperamental microclimate and hand over his life to the power of the universe. When in deep humility one gives up one's body tiny and fragile in an admission that it is no match against a force, with clear mental focus he allows his spirit to expand and merge with something infinitely greater than himself. He becomes the mist. He is the falls. He achieves oneness.

Maimonides relays a similar mystical foundation of Judaism in The Guide for the Perplexed (by Friedlander). When Adam is in the body he is just another animal, but when he is the mind it is then that he connects with God. So what exactly is being in the mind? Devious calculations with no soul as in acts of greed, harm, and destruction or a subtle intuitive connection that one cannot help but instinctively trust, that unique unworldly sensation both beyond oneself and instantly recognizable as home? I recently have taken note of the concept of focus only to realize that I don't have any. Visualize what you want to accomplish. Take steps to make that happen. Such is the advice, but the modern method also introduces an element of force. As an artist I certainly foresee creations not as yet created and then painstakingly go about creating them. Intuition, when it exists, is set into action on the small scale. But the same cannot be said for my life in general, as in actively shaping it into what I presuppose. Frankly, I like to see what interesting turns life has for me. I don't want to know everything and then concoct it. How boring would that be? Do you really want to know what you'll be doing in ten years? I take great satisfaction in the shock I get from reviewing in hindsight years of adventures I never would have thought I'd have. I couldn't have wished those experiences upon myself had I tried for they were beyond my conceived boundaries.

When you think about it, some of the greatest discoveries made at the tail end of consistent cumulative effort appear in sudden unregulated flashes of passive intuitive intelligence. Consider the second day solving a cryptic crossword when you can fill in everything that stumped you the day before. Didn't atomic scientist Kekule see benzene's molecular formation in a daydream? And when the achievers dictate I must determine my dreams and intentions, my practical side has often gotten doses of reality confused in the mix. A fatal mistake. Your dreams should at all cost remain pure of any sense of reality. Only after goals are established should one fret about the practicalities of their implementation and often there is more than the traditional method by which to accomplish them. If it can be imagined, it can be do it. Just maybe that task was meant for you. If a subtle thought found its way to your mind or if you inexplicably connected with some remote concept, who are you to deny it? If you really need to learn that intriguing subject you must be willing to give up all hope of getting the credit to do so. It has been said that anything worth doing is also worth doing badly, so if it looks like that's the way it's going perhaps we'd best not fight the downward spiral. Ride. It takes but a moment of abject humility to obtain ultimate clarity. In order to be everything one has to realize he is nothing.

-elaine morrison- 

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