In this life… we are only given two things that are purely our own to use: attention and time.
Attention: The ability to give our attention to something in order to realize — through that relationship — some quality or character within ourselves of which we were unaware only the moment before.
For instance, give your attention to just how deep runs the star-studded night sky above you, and you’re instantly brought into an awareness of a corresponding timelessness within you. The depths of an endless night sky serves to reveal you to you; this is its spiritual purpose.
Here we glimpse the interior meaning of that much-beloved idea, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The eye and what it beholds mirror one another, validating yet another ancient axiom: the observer is the observed. This understanding explains, in part, why Eastern traditions stress the idea of polishing the mirror of the heart. The purer the heart, the more perfect its reflection of love.
Time: In this world of passing time, we are carried along in a river of ceaselessly changing relationships created by ever-converging forces beyond our control. Yet, each and every one of these relationships holds the promise, the possibility, of a new revelation; and, as we’ve seen, each revelation reflects some aspect of one’s immortal Self.
It is through standing in the flow of time — by watching how its waters wash away all that they touch, including our days on earth — that a true need to know what is timeless appears within us.
This new and interior longing, along with the revelations that have helped give birth to its awakening, changes what we value. Our time on earth takes on new meaning and purpose as well; for now we seek, in earnest, a whole new level of Self that can never be taken, or stolen from us.
Sadly, most of us squander our gifts of time and attention.
Rather than learning to be in command of our attention, which is the same as using our time for its highest purpose — the realization of our immortal Self — we hand it over to almost anything that floats by in the river of time.
Either we struggle to “make” things happen or we wait hoping change will come; regardless of our approach to life it, never fails to give us something to think about, some event to stimulate us. Then we call that momentary relationship — and the passing sense of self it produces in us — “life.”
Yes, of course: this is one order of life; and we all have it… until we realize, often too late, that it has had us all along.
We have no choice about being born into this world of passing time, but we do have a choice whether or not we remain a captive of its inherent fears and sorrow.
Invite the light of your longing for what is everlasting to show you the futility of serving passing time. You are here, on earth, to realize an entirely different purpose to your life — a beautiful, noble, sacrificial purpose.
But, there’s only one way to have this higher calling revealed to you: you must give your attention to it, moment by precious moment.
Stay awake. Stay in your body.
Don’t let your mind drag you around, always talking to you, telling you the meaning of what you see. Learn to master your attention. It will, in turn, teach you the real purpose and proper use of your time here on earth. Master time and attention and you stand at the doorway to the Divine. Step through it and behold your immortal Self.
We will make detailed preparations for a single day off, lay out careful plans for an evening meal, and spend untold moments worrying over what we should wear; but few of us rarely take the time we need to prepare our interior life to receive the impressions that give our soul its substance and meaning.
(Excerpted from The Secret of Your Immortal Self, by Guy Finley, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015)