Several years ago, I had cataract surgery. I had worn glasses for poor vision before the surgery, but it was not until my ability to change visual focus naturally was taken from me by the surgery that I realized the importance of focus, at least visually. The surgery removed my cataract-clouded natural lenses and replaced them with artificial lenses, giving me clearer vision but restricted to a specific focus, a far vision focus suitable for driving or walking. To change my focus, I now require glasses geared to the focus I wish to achieve.
As important as focus is visually, it is exponentially more important when it comes to what we pay attention to. I am not saying when it comes to what we believe, but what we focus on. We may believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials, but not pay much attention to it, and also not be graced with flying saucer sightings. Or we may believe that love conquers all but pay attention to the ways people hurt and betray each other, and have a very difficult time finding the love in which we believe. It is the attention that counts; we attract what we pay attention to, one way or another.
We are currently in a time of chaos and transition. In time, from this chaos will emerge a new way of being, of organizing, and perhaps even a new kind of human. At the moment, the possibilities are myriad. Richard Bach, in his book One, talks about parallel lifetimes, each a reality due to the choices that were made by the individuals (in the book’s case, he and his wife) that led to the different directions each life takes. We are now in a kind of energy vortex, and the choices we make now will determine the course(s) our lives take. There are so many possibilities. Bach’s book, when I first read it, sent me into a kind of mental overload; I simply could not hold in mind simultaneously the many parallel paths he explored, all existing but hidden from each other except as he explored them. Now, I can see clearly paths forward in several (of course, not in all of the possible) different directions. One direction is favored by the media and will lead to a result we may not have expected. Others are also valid directions, each with results depending on the premise that underlies that particular path. It is still overwhelming, and the temptation to follow those paths into the future and become preoccupied by that effort can be a siren call.
This awareness is a good thing, not something to become blind to. We need the ability to follow into the future the outcomes that our choices of today can produce. We also need the in-the-moment ability to sense what is going on amidst the chaos. However, given that what we pay attention to tends to be what we manifest, the focus on what we are doing NOW, juxtaposed to what we have thoughtfully determined we want, is the most important. We must resist the temptation to submerge ourselves in the “good old times” of the past (or in the traumas and suffering and anger and blaming), or to get lost in the maze of future possibilities and the fear some of them can produce. We need to keep a focus on the present moment; this present moment is the space we have to create what we want to see.
The question is, what, in this present moment, do we want to see long term??? It is not simply how we must react to a situation to which the media promotes ever more fear, so that we believe that we have no choice but to follow the promoted story and keep our feet on that path, but what exactly do we want as the more beautiful, nurturing life we can envision? (Although some of us may not want that, preferring a more contentious life that seems to assure more power or a more compliant life that promises more security.) Rarely has armed opposition or inimical struggle brought about a lasting and fully positive outcome, and rarely has abdication of our individual power done that either. There is a middle ground. Yes, we need to learn to live cooperatively with each other, and with a sense of community. First, however, we must heal ourselves so that we can not only envision a healed existence, but also act in the present moment based on what we envision. Do we envision a world which is peaceful, which has abandoned the practice of war? We must first be peaceful ourselves, having ceased to fight. Do we wish to live in a world surrounded by the generous beauty of the natural world? We must first become a part of nature, healing her as we heal ourselves. Do we wish to live in a world of plenty? First, we must be plenty ourselves, generously sharing with others of the plenty we have. Do we wish to live in a world in which we are respected and appreciated for our talents? First, we must learn to respect others, to appreciate their talents, and to retain our sense of awe, of wonder. We must carefully choose our visions. Should we envision that which destroys or diminishes others or Nature itself, we will ourselves be destroyed and diminished thereby. We must be careful choosers, and we must then be that vision we welcome into ourselves. What we are doing in this present moment is our focus.
Our focus can be expressed in our actions, in our thoughts and in our souls. Whichever ways it is expressed, we must first choose to form and maintain the focus. Before we can form and use focus, we must wake up and take the responsibility of knowing that no one or no thing else will save us, while we do nothing. It is time to awaken and carefully create our visons, and to grow in strength to use our focus to heal and nurture our surroundings. It is time to bring responsibility and creativity, life, and loving nurture as a response to apathy and entropy. It is up to us. What are we going to do?