Table of Contents


Attention. Nothing is more important than attention. I make progress with love when and only if I pay attention. I don't hold with any kind of religion, Zen Buddhism included, but I treasure wisdom wherever I find it:

When Master Ikkyū was asked what the most profound teaching of Zen was he replied “Attention.” When asked for more elaboration and commentary on that teaching he replied “Attention. Attention. Attention. What else is there?” The questioner grew angrier and asked “Well what is attention anyway?” “Attention is attention” was his profound, quiet reply [source].

I read that story in the lake house in Tallahassee and it stuck with me. I didn't know what attention was back then, so it didn't do my laborious attempts at formal meditation any good, but I knew it was a clue.

Paying attention is a conscious act: being intentionally present with whatever I'm doing so I can receive the wisdom of that moment. Consciously paying attention is my one step that opens the door for god to take a hundred steps toward me. Progress with love is what happens when I pay conscious attention to everything going on, inside me and out. It has taken me an uncountable number of lifetimes to begin to get that. When I was a child I didn't know how to pay conscious attention. But I made a little bit of progress anyway, just the right amount for a child. I was able to do that because Leela put me into situations where my attention would be drawn the right way. She did that for me, way back in the 1950s, because in 2006 I would wake up a little, beginning a process of surrendering to Leela that's still going strong. My future success has blessed my past all through this life. Even the serious mistakes I've made have helped me along.

Mental noise. When I woke up from my cannabis glut, I heard nothing inside but glorious silence for a moment before I was overtaken by intense psychological pain cause by the residue of the high dose cannabis Leela used to wake me up. In the year that followed I made friends with silence as the cannabis gradually depurated out. Silence is Leela's voice in me. Before that night my head was always filled with the ceaseless chatter of thinking. If Leela's voice was there it was drowned out by all my noisy thinking. Mental noise—my internal monolog—has always been the main barrier to paying attention. Any time I turn to Leela and let the voices fade away I can find my way back to the sweet sound of silence.