Why do you suppose it is that almost every religious symbol since the Egyptians screams out, “Pay attention!”? A Celtic cross is basically a set of cross-hairs. The Dharma wheel is a perfect target. And the symbol of the Jains is literally a big hand saying, “Stop! Look at this target thingy right here.”
When you are giving something your full attention, time stands still. When you are playing the guitar, making love, or getting hit in the face in a sparring match, you are essentially in touch with the eternal — from the Latin aeternus , meaning atemporal. In other words, outside the bonds of time.
Get this through your head right now.
- Paying attention is the secret sauce that makes your martial arts burger tasty and delicious.
- Paying attention is the splashy color that makes your oil painting fry people’s brains out when they look at it.
- Paying attention is the magic mojo that makes your lover want to hold your hand until the sun becomes a black hole.
- Not paying attention is what makes you step on snakes and tumble down slippery slopes and fall on punji stakes and suffer a short and miserable life.
Pay Attention: Training Involution #152
This week do whatever you want — as long as you do it with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole attention.
It doesn’t matter what you do as much as how you do it.
This is why we journal in Cabal Fang — to focus and refocus our attention — and this is why journaling makes you powerful. Do something with full attention and write it down.
That is all.
This is a hot dog from Gene & Jude’s I had when I was visiting Chicago last month. It was awesome.
Buddha walks up to a hot dog stand. “What’ll it be?” the vendor asks. Buddha says “One with everything,” and slides over a ten-dollar bill. Vendor hands Buddha a hot dog but no change. “Where’s my change?” Buddha asks. Vendor says, “Change must come from within.”
Which reminds me of a true story:
When I first got into martial arts I was a sponge for everything the master said. One Saturday when the studio was slow and there weren’t many people around, he pulled me aside and asked me into his office. I was ecstatic. Surely I was about to receive an incredible nugget of wisdom, some secret teaching. I stood there in his small, cramped office quivering with anticipation. He went behind his desk, opened the drawer, and reached inside. What was he about to show me? An ancient artifact? An arcane diagram or obscure book of wisdom? Was he going to ask me to snatch a pebble from his hand?
What happened next is etched in my mind forever. He pulled a ten-dollar bill out of the desk and handed it to me. “Here,” he said. “You go Fuddrucker. Small hot dog, no fries. Okay?”
It turned out that my Taekwondo master, despite his broken English, wasn’t the Asian stereotype I thought he was. He was just a very intelligent, skilled, dedicated and hard-working man who wanted some lunch.
I, on the other hand, was an idiot.
Allow situations to teach you, no matter how mundane, unexpected, funny or downright peculiar they may be. Pay attention and you may learn something.