We gathered for zikr in the zikr chamber.
I asked: Can you enter the present? This is a simple request but not an easy one to fulfill. Zikr is an encounter with Being. This encounter requires all that you have, your entire capacity for engagement. How to begin?
Can you take back attention from all the places you have left it? Your house, your car, your job, your wallet, your children? One of the magical qualities of attention is that it is attractive to itself, it can call itself to itself.
You begin with the attention that you have. Anchor this attention directly on the sensation of your physical posture. Let this bring you into the present. Now, inquire about where you have unconsciously left your attention and invite it back to you on the in-breath. Breathe it in. Attention and the sensation of breathing work very well together.
This is a process that improves with practice. Do not try to use your thinking to force your attention to return to the center. Your thoughts are not immediate or powerful enough. Your thoughts are only fore-runners, searching out the places, things and events where attention is being held. Allow attention to do the work of bringing itself to itself; it is a pleasure for attention to collect itself, attend to itself. Allow attention to be independent of you, not ‘yours’.
In time, you will find mother lodes of held attention. When your thought touches on them, you will experience an electrical sensation and then a strengthening of attention as it is freed, returns and collects. With no other effort, your body and mind will wake up. The chattering thinker stops. You may also begin to know the terrain of your sleeping life, where you act without being present.
The gold of your intelligence
is scattered over many clippings and bits
of wanting. Bring them all together
in one place. How else can I stamp it?*
In zikr, I may perhaps be stamped by His likeness, the one He intended for me. Can I first present myself for this discovery?
*From: Delicious Laughter by Coleman Barks, p121.