Copyright (c) 2019 Tomas Morales y Duran
WE WILL BEGIN WITH the definition of » attention » to center the subject.
Attention is the action of attending, which is waiting to receive a wish, request or mandate and welcome it favorably. Attention is the opposite of concentration. In this all resources are used in a specific task, so it is not waiting, and ignores any desire, request or mandate that arises during it.
The attention to be efficient needs to work together with concentration. To do this, the mandates that arise must be prioritized in priority levels. In this way, the attention sends a task to the concentration and it is not interrupted until it ends or a higher order appears, either by urgency or by importance.
The attention by itself goes behind any stimulus that appears according to the order of appearance, and remains in it until the next one emerges, regardless of whether it is a priority or not.
Although the attention itself is the same, we can differentiate its effectiveness according to the subject that experiences it.
It is what happens in ordinary people, those whose dominant brain is the limbic system and in which the nuclei of language, Broca and Wernicke’s area are out of control.
In this case, extreme as we will see, the bombardment of requirements is tremendous. Any perception that induces action to the limbic system will alert the subject either by aversion or by attachment. But that is not here. As long as there are no primitive emotional reactions, verbal decontrol will continuously activate the requirements and in an interminable way. Senseless concatenated thoughts only serve to block attention.
The logical answer is the saturation of the circuits of the attention so that it ends up blocking and when an individual is blocked it is distracted. Stop attending, simply.
If the verbiage is intense, the subject spends his life reacting negatively to it by interspersing periods of distraction. It is clear that being continuously reacting with attachment and aversion to verbiage leads to a chronic suffering that often goes unnoticed, but in others it emerges as a crisis of anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders and can even produce panic attacks.
If we subject an ordinary person to isolation and silence, for example, to an hour of «sitting meditation», we will be confronting the verbiage and the chain of emotional reactions that it produces. Since his ultimate unspeakable goal is to end the damn hour, he will try to weather the storm of reactive thoughts, trying in a more or less unconscious way to rest distracting; in the periods in which he is neither distracted nor sleepy, which is another way of disconnecting, he will see how the verbiage arises and disappears without end, and each appearance will leave his tired mental waste garbage in the form of emotional reaction as a consequence of the repeated Activation of the limbic system in the face of false requirements, as if what you imagine is really happening.
There are «methods» that try to simulate the non-reaction of a Noble, either anagami or arahant. To this end, the instructor will tell him to try not to react to the rebellious verbiage: so stoically, the poor man tries to endure his suffering as if it were a hemorrhoid: in silence.
The time of day is an hour of self-inflicted and very funny torture. If you have been distracted and, therefore, have passed the test without suffering much damage, they will make you feel bad. On the contrary, if you have been attentive to so much suffering, they will say that you have done well.
And, it is true, there is nothing that an ordinary person does better: suffer. In fact, we could define the ordinary person as a full-time professional sufferer.
And, again, our well-known » chile effect » appears. The worse it has been in the cursed hour, the happier you will feel when you finish having passed the test.
This comes to delirious extremes in the so-called » meditation retreats » where the chili effect reaches incredible extremes. By spending up to 8 days of 12 hours of meditation without mercy, the victim is absolutely happy to have survived and wanting more. Like the terrible habanero chili that, if it does not kill you, hooks you.
To give them some » realism » between session and session of torture, they are rested with talks of their feverish versions of the «Dhamma» that assure that they support these barbarities by promising enlightenment without the need of any Buddha: Instant pack lighting. For this they also use the mere simulation. As in an elaborate passage of the suttas it is said that a wise person understands that phenomena are impermanent, impersonal and bring dissatisfaction, understand that anyone who understands this obviousness is a wise person, that is, who is enlightened. But as it is a truism, the victim who does not need to be very ready to realize this simplicity, will try to find some «secret message» while enduring his endless hour of storm mental , while imagining how many minutes are missing.
After analyzing Precarious Attention we are able to show that the main problem of attention is mental verbiage. Therefore, the first measure to get an effective attention is to end it.
And it ends with her rebooting the brain. So, just like any computer full of garbage. It turns off for a while, and when you restart everything is clean. There are no junk thoughts accumulated since the day you started to understand the language.
If you feel silent, there is silence.
This, as we have seen, is achieved by practicing jhānas.
As there are no junk thoughts there is no past or future, so it does not matter the time because it simply does not exist.
And since attention does not have to attend to a verbiage that does not exist, it can execute its role and attend to the requirements of the senses, integrating itself in its place. He is not distracted, he is attentive to any stimulus.
As long as the stimulus does not appear or does not provoke an emotional reaction, the practitioner will not experience any suffering. It may be hours, days, months, locked in retreat that will not experience suffering if it is conveniently isolated.
It has been said, and rightly so, «I have spent my life suffering for things that 99% of the time have never happened». The practitioner of jhānas suffers a hundred times less than the ordinary person, just for this concept.
If the practitioner has managed to subordinate the limbic brain to the neocortex and ensure that no emotional reaction occurs, the attention will be perfect. Priority will be given to what is rationally available. The individual experiences neither fear, nor suffering nor happiness nor pleasure nor emotion. For him the emotion is null. It will not react because there is a chemical in your brain. He is a person, not a frog. He reasons, he does not react.
Therefore, he does not suffer because he can not. For him, suffering is impossible, because his circuits have deactivated them. It is called Noble and is in the category of Anagami or Arahant.
And they do not have to simulate anything, if they suffer, but it does not come out, because they do not lie because they do not have to lie. And they do know this: people suffer because they want to. They have everything they need to not suffer: they are not frogs and they do not do it out of ignorance, vagrancy, indolence or simple stupidity.
Why do you have such a big head? To use such a small brain?