When my two sons were born, I felt that one of the most important jobs I had was to be a mirror for them. As I looked into their eyes, I would also be looking into my Heart. There was a strong feeling of connecting with them, and this was not about me; this was about us in the greater sense. My job was to help them become fully human and give them the tools to function appropriately. This was about love; it was not personal. God was to guide our actions.
The point was not to make them the center of attention. It was to help them cognize that they existed within themselves, so that if they were left alone or not given attention they had a sense of being. There would be an awareness of self.
If no one is looking at you, do you still exist? This is a good question for many people today who are looking to be gazed upon. They might prefer to be adored, but they will take any form of attention available. Because they did not establish a sense of self when they were young, they are still looking for the mirror so they know they exist. This is a form of Asmita, losing subject in object. When I would look into my sons’ eyes I would not lose myself, and I was encouraging them to be themselves. “I see you in there. Hello”.
How ironic: the culture that proclaims that we are to be free and independent is the culture that creates bondage and dependence. We neglect and abandon, and call it helping people be themselves.
The resulting belief is that if we are not the center of attention, we have no value. Spiritual practice redirects attention from the individual to the Real Self. A good teacher does not want to be the center of attention; neither should you want to be the center of theirs. God should be the center of everyone’s attention.
But in the culture we have created, the highest state for the individual is to be the center of attention. In contemporary America, we strive to be the center of attention. We all want to be celebrities. A celebrity rates higher than the President, because celebrity is about personality, while the Presidency is about public service.
Our pursuit of attention is humorless, even when we try to get attention by being clowns. We are seriously committed to this goal, because we believe it will maintain our existence. And we see the people who tell us to give up striving for attention as rivals. Of course they are telling us that; if we are the center of attention, then the eyes are off them.
We manage to think of ourselves as the center of attention even when we are passively watching something. Sitting and listening, or looking at a screen, is in fact being the center of attention. If you are looking at a screen, it exists for your entertainment, and you can change the channel at any time. So you are both inert and the center of attention.
A good leader is not the center of attention in his eyes. He is with everyone else, but he has given up his individuality to fulfill the position. A good team member will do the same. And if we all did this, so much more would get done clearly and efficiently. A poor leader won’t delegate until he is so weakened that he has no choice. Some leaders, like some parents, belittle their authority in order to be loved. Still, celebrity is the goal: to have the individual exalted rather than the task or ability or expertise. We are looking to be the center of attention for everyone else without having anything to offer.
This foursquare will help us dismantle our attachment to celebrity.
Center of attention Nonentity
Vilified /Disgraced publicly Allowed to live/ Left alone/ Privacy
Once we are nonattached, we can align ourselves appropriately in the world. If we are in the Heart, we are no longer the center of attention; everything is the center of attention. Which is to say God is the center of attention.
Share this Post