Reply To: Dr Mark Vernon's talk, A Revolution in Attention

  • Don Salmon

    May 21, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Joseph:

    You make such interesting points. The one that moved me most was the insight that it’s not techniques per se that lead to the shift in attention; that ANYTHING can serve as an inspiration to open to a new way of seeing, of being, being with God, or Brahman, or the Tao, or what you wish.

    I notice in much of the discussions on this channel, there’s a lot of ambivalence about techniques. And in many modern circles (without being aware how much this ambivalence owes to the Protestant Reformation!), there is a similar ambivalence.

    I myself felt this for about 6 years when I first came across contemplative practices. Finally, in 1976, I said to myself, “just do it.”

    As far as I’m aware, even including Krishnamurti, perhaps the most radical anti-practice speaker of the modern age, there isn’t a single genuine contemplative – from the most ancient Vedic sages to Christians, Jews, Sufis, etc – who hasn’t at some point engaged in practices.

    In our modern LH age, practice is seen as somehow mechanical, artificial.

    But even basic breath watching (Thich Nhat Hanh teaches it this way) can be a celebration of the Divine, of a sacred all pervading reality.

    it’s not the technique but the attitude we bring to it. No doubt, all techniques are left behind ultimately, but as a meditation teacher friend of mine said to a student who decided to give up all techniques – my friend responding in a thoroughly non intellectual, “Dr. Phil” kind of way: “how’s that workin’ out for you?”

    Not so well, it turns out. For me personally, the struggle between effort/techniques and surrender/grace has been one of the most fruitful of my life. Once you get it, you can use any technique as a means of surrender, letting go, no techniques. This goes so far beyond the LH/RH distinction, too.