Yoko and I wandered into a cafe in Paris, near Montmartre and the artist area, and the above sign confronted me when I sat down at the small Carrara marble bistro table. It immediately caught my attention! After all, that was its intention, wasn’t it? I started to think about the nature of human attention and remembered a statement one of my teachers, Maharishi, made in 1977. He commented:
“Attention is the flow of consciousness.”
Yes, it is just that, and my attention was flowing back and forth between my thoughts and the sign, and the enticing smells and sights and sounds of the cafe, and I realized how infinite, and how valuable, our attention is. It is the basis of our experience. We use it every day, constantly, without noticing, paying little attention to the fact that we are paying attention. Instead, our minds generally identify with the endless thought-stream of past and future remembrances and fantasies. And yet, within this experience of paying attention is contained the experience of deep attention – presence, silence, stillness. Peace. We tend to miss this experience even as it is the experience we are seeking in all of our pursuits.
When one gently allows the attention to rest within, as pure presence, pure consciousness, one feels fulfillment and peace. Take a moment now and effortlessly notice this restful state of attention.