Two Worlds In One
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Two Worlds In OneOur amazing power to focus.
It’s a lovely sunny morning, which is rare in the cloudy U.K., so I’m eating my breakfast outside in the garden. And I’ve just noticed something obvious. Right now my eyes are focused on my glass of orange juice on the table in front of me. But I can also see the garden around me in my peripheral vision. Now I’m moving my head and focusing on the kids’ trampoline, and the table is in my peripheral vision. My vision is simultaneously focused and peripheral.
This has made me conscious of something just as obvious: a similar thing is going on with my attention. I’m focused on my thoughts right now, but I’m still conscious that I’m eating my breakfast, since the world remains present in my peripheral attention. And if I were now to focus my attention on eating my breakfast, my thoughts would fade into the background temporarily while I savored the food.
This is very interesting: I have a foreground and a background to my attention.
If I focus my attention on the deep awake state, the waking world goes out of focus. But the waking world is still in my peripheral consciousness, so I can bring my attention to it if I wish. And if I focus my attention on the waking world, I can keep the deep awake state in my peripheral consciousness, so I can return my focus to it when I want to. I am able to move the focus of my attention between the poles of my identity, while retaining the other pole in my peripheral attention.
When I live lucidly, I shift between these two perspectives. It’s a state of dynamic balance. It’s not a compromise in which I settle for a bit of both. It’s more like a dance where I move between the extremes. It’s a continual conversation between oneness and separateness. It’s a bit like keeping my balance when riding a bike. I change where I put my attention in response to the bends and twists of the life-road.
So perhaps I need to refine my understanding of what living lucidly involves. I need to be conscious enough that when I focus on separateness, the knowledge of oneness remains in my peripheral consciousness. Then I can easily change my focus to the deep awake state when I choose to, and allow the waking world to be in my peripheral consciousness.
The goal of awakening is not some permanent fixed state. It is free-flowing attention that can focus wherever it needs to at the time. It is being liberated from bondage to my story, so my attention can move between focusing on the mystery of the moment and focusing on Tim’s adventures in time. When I become deep awake, I see how free my attention really is, and I can focus on whichever pole of my identity I need to right now. That’s living lucidly.
I have found that the secret to living lucidly in the everyday world is having the freedom to move my focus from the deep awake state to the waking world and back again. Otherwise I become anxious or ineffective.
I find it interesting that during those periods of my life in which meditation has been my primary focus, I’ve not been particularly active or creative, just spacious and content. It’s good to have times of withdrawal to become familiar with the deep awake state, but I don’t want to stay there all the time.
I see this clearly when I’m writing. The creative process involves letting go into the inspirational world, where I dream up new ideas. But it also involves engaging with the practical world, where I express these ideas in particular patterns of words.
I love just hanging out in the inspirational state, but nothing much gets done. I’ve had endless creative visions that have come to nothing because of my unwillingness to shift my attention to the painstaking craft of the practical world. To be truly creative, I need to allow my focus to flow between these worlds.
Sometimes I’m reluctant to engage with the difficult world of doing because I don’t want to forget the passive presence of being. But this is just as “one-sided” an approach to life as when I’m embroiled in the story of separateness.
When I live lucidly, my focus moves fluidly between the active and passive poles of my identity. And in my experience, this fluidity of focus is the way to enjoy a creative life as an active participant in the life-dream, while also bathing in the bliss of my deeper being. It is the secret of enlivenment.