Thursday, February 4, 2021

attention and generosity


Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer.
 It presupposes faith and love.
Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.

If we turn our mind toward the good,
 it is impossible that little by little the whole soul
 will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.

We have to try to cure our faults by attention
 and not by will.

The will only controls a few movements of a few muscles, 
and these movements are associated with the idea 
of the change of position of nearby objects.
 I can will to put my hand flat on the table.
 If inner purity, inspiration or truth of thought 
were necessarily associated with attitudes of this kind, 
they might be the object of will.
 As this is not the case, we can only beg for them… 
Or should we cease to desire them? 
What could be worse?
 Inner supplication is the only reasonable way,
 for it avoids stiffening muscles which have nothing to do with the matter.
 What could be more stupid than to tighten up our muscles 
and set our jaws about virtue, or poetry, or the solution of a problem.
 Attention is something quite different.

Pride is a tightening up of this kind.
 There is a lack of grace (we can give the word its double meaning here)
 in the proud man.
 It is the result of a mistake.
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
~ Simone Weil
from First and Last Notebooks
with thanks to brainpickings