A hands-on guide to using our attention to help us wake up 🤯
This is the third interview in our series Awakening, Explained with my guest Dr. Angelo DiLullo. Angelo is a practicing anesthesiologist and author of the book “Awake: It’s Your Turn.”
In this episode we discuss how to pay attention to our attention and use it to enter the immediate realm of sense experience in the present moment…and much more.
Get Angelo’s book, contact him, and download his free meditation app here.
The rest of our Awakening, Explained interview series can be found here.
– [Zubin] Oh, Angelo. Welcome back to the show, Angelo.
– [Angelo] Hello, thank you.
– [Zubin] DiLullo. So look, we’ve done a few episodes now where we just, we went pretty deep on the heavy, awakening stuff. And I like that.
– [Angelo] Mmhmm.
– [Zubin] You like that?
– [Angelo] Yeah, it was great.
– [Zubin] So now I think what we should do is, what are we feelin’? Should we talk about the most fundamental thing to actually any practice like that, which is attention?
– [Angelo] Sure.
– [Zubin] It’s one of the early chapters in your book. Your book’s called “Awake: It’s Your Turn.” And this idea of attention, when I first started meditating, I didn’t even know what attention was. I just knew that you could have a deficit of it. It could be squirrel. Like that’s how I thought of attention as something that can either go awry or you just pay attention or you concentrate your focus. But attention seems to me to be one of the fundamental movements of awareness that allow you to actually I don’t even know how to say this, it allows you to, first of all, notice things that are otherwise unconscious. And… Help me out.
– [Angelo] Yeah, it’s such a fascinating thing.
– [Zubin] Hard to put into words, yeah.
– [Angelo] Yeah, so attention, so first I’ll just throw out some questions that anybody listening can contemplate in themself, in their own experience. So first of all, how often during the day do you pay attention to where your attention is? Do you consciously notice? Where am I putting my attention right now? As such. It’s just not something we typically do. Right? So then the other question, or the next question would be, well, where is your attention usually? Most of the time throughout the day, where is your attention resting? What is it on? And if this seems, if this subject seems abstract, let’s just clarify what I mean by attention, and see that it’s actually a very simple, obvious, and constant faculty that you’re utilizing all the time you’re awake, whether you recognize that or not. And it’s the kind of, it’s like breathing, in a sense, that you’re always breathing, but you’re rarely thinking I’m breathing right now. Am I breathing my in breath? Am I breathing my out breath? So it’s the kinda thing you can become aware of, or to say it in a funny way, you can put your attention on it, but often your attention’s not on it. You’re not actually aware of where your attention is, the movement of attention, the ability to modulate your attention. So this is kind of like talking about something that’s so obvious and simple you might even go why the heck are we even talking about it? It’s like talking about the air almost. And yet, again, it’s something that you have the ability to modulate in very direct ways, and even subtle ways, that we literally just don’t pay attention to. Now, isn’t that interesting? See, those are the kinda things I like. I like to ask the questions that are so obvious that we don’t ever think to ask ’em. Like about thoughts, what is a thought? That kinda thing. So this is attention. What is attention? So let’s just look at what it’s like to utilize our attention in an extremely simple, silly way that a first grade child could do, or that you might talk to a child about. So we can take our attention and move it to a visual object in the room, like a cup, glass.
– [Zubin] Hold it up.
– [Angelo] Yeah. We can literally put our visual attention on that for a couple of seconds. So our attention is paying attention to that cup at that moment. Clearly, right? We might be thinking about it. We might be labeling it, but we see a visual experience. Yeah? And more importantly, what we’re not noticing in that moment. If I say it now we might start to pick up the periphery, but the moment we really focused our attention on that cup we probably weren’t consciously aware of the periphery, not in an active thinking way. We weren’t also probably too aware of thoughts or sounds or sensations in the body. But as I say this and you’re focusing your attention on that cup still, they might actually be coming in a little bit. Like you can keep your attention on that cup right now, just that. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to label it. Just put your attention right there. And at the same time, you can start to perceive the senses of the body, the physical sense of this body, whether it’s your hands on the table, your feet on the floor, the internal experience, like almost like a visceral experience could be almost like an emotion center, like in the gut, chest, neck, or even in the head. So we can put our attention on one thing very clearly and then bring in another sense into that, in that attention space. Isn’t that interesting? We don’t think about doing this, but it’s, but we can do it. So then the next question becomes, this is just a simple demonstration. We can get into it more, but the next question becomes what is the value of modulating your attention? Does it matter to do this? Can you do really amazing things by modulating your attention in certain ways? Like wake up from the dream of separation? I would argue that yes, you can. And in fact, if there is a technique to waking up, to awakening, to realization, to inquiry, to deepening a realization that’s occurred, if there could be said to be a technique it’s based on movement of your attention, period, it has to be.
– [Zubin] It has to be.
– [Angelo] Has to be.
– [Zubin] I couldn’t even-
– [Angelo] Give me a technique of any kind of meditation or mindfulness where you’re not modulating your attention.
– [Zubin] Doesn’t involve attention. They all do. Pay attention to your breath. Pay attention to your breath while simultaneously maintaining awareness of what else is going on in your mind so that you can re-pay attention to your breath and notice distractions before as soon as they’re happening. So it’s all modulation of attention. And this idea of something I learned in your book when I was looking at attention I’d never thought of it this way. It’d never been described to this way, this polyphonic attention. You didn’t call it this, but it’s, I use a musical term, more than one note. So if this is a single note of attention, paying attention to the glass, I can pay attention to the glass and simultaneously be aware of sensations, like you said, and that is a very different kind of a use of attention. And the other thing that you said in the book that I thought was interesting that we can talk about, but you probably have a better way of talking about it is when I move attention from wherever it’s sitting, which is interesting where it’s sitting in the first place, to the glass, in a way, attention becomes the glass.
– [Angelo] That’s right. This is kind of a down the road thing you usually get from working with this sort of thing, but it can become, your attention, it can become so obvious that the attention is the glass that all of the rest of the world falls away, except for that glass. In fact, the sense of being someone observing a glass is completely replaced by that visual experience, and the visual experience is extremely intimate and non-dualistic, very much alive, and there’s nothing to contemplate about it. It’s just, it’s so real there’s no reason to think about it anymore at all. It can become that vivid. And it does become that vivid with realization, with practice of these types of techniques as well. But so I just wanted to be, again, be really clear that like what we’re talking about now is the kind of thing. And I think I’m pretty sure I said this in the book that if you just hear what we’re talking about and don’t really actually do it, you don’t move your attention that way, you’ll intellectualize it. And you kind of miss the point of this experience, that it’s an experiential journey of moving your attention in certain ways and recognizing the effects of that. So you mentioned as you put your, if you put your attention on there, on that glass, or that visual experience, and now take a drink out of it. Now your attention’s maybe on your tongue and the sensation of, how often do you notice sensation of water moving down your throat.
– [Zubin] You don’t pay attention to it.
– [Angelo] Do you notice, do you ever notice your epiglottitis or your glottis? Do you think it’s possible? How about like your sternocleidomastoid muscles like moving when you swallow?
– [Zubin] Can feel that.
– [Angelo] Isn’t that crazy?
– [Zubin] Yeah.
– [Angelo] Yeah, but we don’t know, we don’t pay attention to it, because, again, our mind has this priority system of what we should be paying attention to, which is nothing that’s here. It’s what’s in the past, what’s in the future, where we think we’re going, where we think we came from, what we think we need, why we think we have problems, and what our solutions are, how to solve the problem of me and of life, right? That’s where our attention’s usually. But when we do this directly, we actually kind of do a subversive act of breaking that spell of mind identification for just a moment. It’s very easy to do for a moment. And it’s even easy to do for a few moments. So you can look at something like that, and if anybody’s watching and wants to participate they can look at anything, pick an object, a physical, visual object, and just look at it. And as you look at this, just listen to what I’m saying. Can you see without the label? But it’s still that, right? Let the label glass drop away. Let the label hand drop away. Or if you’re looking at a blue object, let blue drop away and just keep your attention there. Let the thought that says, I’m looking at that drop off and just keep your attention there. Just let your attention just settle right into that experience. Now, even let the thought that says that’s over there and the eye is over here watching it, let that drop away. Just to do an experiment. And yet you still have that visual experience. Keep your attention in that visual experience and start to ask yourself, where is that? Well, a thought might say, that’s over there, and I’m over here, but we’ve already let go of that thought. So, again, right back to the visual experience we’re not contemplating this, we’re experiencing it. Where is that? And just let the feeling of that move a little bit. You don’t need some thought answer to this. Let the feeling vacillate a little bit. You might notice the visual experience of that starts to kind of almost expand, or it might feel like it’s not necessarily in one place, or you might feel it inside and outside at the same time. Or you may not, but you don’t have to. There’s no wrong answer to this because the experience is the answer. So you’re teaching yourself to experience a sense, the sense world without perceptual filters. And you can do this in a very direct way. I know people have woken up to very deep, profound levels of realization doing exactly this, literally doing this.
– [Zubin] I believe it, I mean just-
– [Angelo] More than one person.
– [Zubin] The experience of absorption without label in that object, it just becomes the, almost like, it almost becomes the universe.
– [Angelo] Mmhmm. The object starts to almost seemingly come alive a little bit. It just, these are subtle things I’m talking about. It’s not a big deal. It’s not an explosive experience, usually. It’s just, something starts to feel a little more alive there in the visual experience, but understand that this is not a, we’re not trying to look at this and merge with it, right? That’s a thought. A thought would say that. Like a thought believes there’s separation already. So it tries to merge. We’re not trying to merge, and there’s no, this isn’t a forceful thing at all. It’s a sort of subtractive, inquiring process. What happens when I experience that without the labels? Without the filters? Without the belief that that’s over there and I’m over here? And you might just get a little taste of it or it might actually be a much deeper experience. But the more you do it, if you can feel into this, if we can resonate with this, the more you do that, the profounder it typically gets. Now we just did one sense. That’s just a visual sense. That’s just a visual experience. The forms and shapes and color of that and the movement with no perceiver. So you can also do it with sound. And sound is very easy, because sound just has that feeling like it comes to you. The visual experiences are a little strange because the occipital lobe of our brain burns up so much oxygen. It’s very, very active. And so a lot of our brain is consumed by constructing a three-dimensional visual world all the time. And also imagining in three dimensions, which is also occurring in the occipital lobe. So our brain really spends a lot of energy constructing a three-dimensional visual world that definitely looks like, what the hell is this guy talkin’ about? That’s over there and I’m over here. I’m sure of it. Sound is a little different than that. Sounds a little easier to apprehend the non-dualistic experience. For instance, right now, instead of putting your beam of attention on that visual object, you can just put it on the sound of my voice or you can dilate it out and just take in the sound of the entire room. All of it. Right? So if anyone did that along with us, they may have noticed, if you just dilate your attention completely out and take in nothing but sound, you might notice almost a ringing in your ear. Yeah?
– [Zubin] Yeah.
– [Angelo] So, okay, that gets very, very loud when you become very present, when you meditate for a long time, or when you start to experience the non-dual world because our brain normally filters that out as unimportant, but when we’re not looking and thinking and feeling and hearing through perceptual filters, then all of a sudden you kinda hear everything, and it’s like, whoa, it’s like this hum, buzzing. The sounds are really alive. But also I can’t really tell where they are exactly. They’re sort of everywhere in the environment. So it’s a little easier to start to pick up that non-dualistic experience with sound versus the visual field.
– [Zubin] Non-dualistic meaning there is no subject and sound, it’s just sound?
– [Angelo] Mmhmm. Sound is doing the hearing.
– [Zubin] Sound is doing the hearing.
– [Angelo] You’re not apprehending a sound. It’s just sound hearing itself. Or sound is sounding.
– [Zubin] Sound is sounding.
– [Angelo] The bell is ringing. There’s just ringing. Ringing is ringing itself. Or it’s that kind of an experience where it’s just, it’s like a singularity, but it’s not like one point in space. It’s a singularity of experience that inhabits everything in this room, but there’s no room. So it’s that sort of a thing that you can’t talk about, but it’s experientially quite different than, oh yeah, when I’m thinking about it or describing it to you, oh, I heard a sound and it sounds like this, and this is what I think it was. That’s a very, that’s the mind touching in very quickly to a sound and then turning it into a thought very quickly. And then reproducing it with other thoughts and describing it, labeling it, telling, talking about what we think it is. Yeah.
– [Zubin] Putting it in space and time.
– [Angelo] Visualizing it, putting it in-
– [Zubin] Visualizing it.
– [Angelo] Putting in space and time basically.
– [Zubin] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– [Angelo] So again, I really like to demonstrate this because it shows that anyone can do this. You don’t have to be woke. You don’t have to be spiritual. You don’t have to be enlightened. Anyone can modulate their attention. And if you do this with, like we just did with sound, and you practice that, just for a few minutes even. We don’t have to go through it now, but if you do it on your own for a few minutes, you’re gonna start to feel much more aliveliness in the sound itself. You’ll feel that presence in the sound. And that’s it. You don’t need to do something with that. That’s already teaching you what presence is.
– [Zubin] If you did nothing else today or for the next week or for the next month, you just did that, you would get a deeper understanding of this, of, like you said, of presence. And a lot of people meditate for a long time because they’re not really, they don’t, they haven’t quite been shown how to modulate attention. Just staring, yeah.
– [Angelo] Mmhmm. That’s it. Two senses, right? And so a third sense. The three senses that are the most prominent, I would say, in non-dual experience are the visual experience, the sound experience, and the body sensation. But of course, taste and smell are more episodic. But when you eat something, whether you’re enjoying it not, but you’re eating something, close your eyes, like just for a minute and really just savor it. Just let that flavor just completely expand into your whole experience. It’s pretty easy to do with flavor actually.
– [Zubin] With food, yeah.
– [Angelo] But there’s a social weird thing about closing your eyes when you’re eating with a group of people, unless you’re with weird people like me.
– [Zubin] That’s right. or you’re in a McDonald’s commercial. Mmmm.
– [Angelo] Right, or you’re by yourself, yeah.
– [Zubin] Right, yeah.
– [Angelo] But with flavor it’s actually really easy to do as well. But the body sense is a very important one for many reasons. For one thing, it’s a really good skill to learn when you start to have to do shadow work and emotion work and things like that. Because ultimately when you’re doing emotion work, really what you’re doing is you’re allowing your attention to rest or radiate from the body itself. So now I’m starting to talk about attention in a little bit different way. We can feel like attention moves out towards something and then apprehends it. And then we’d kind of drop the perceptual filters. We did that and practiced that. But it can also, once you start to work with attention you notice these subtler qualities of attention. For instance, you can allow attention to radiate out from something, instead of you feel like you’re directing it onto something. It’s very easy to do this with the body, right? So just feel anything in your body that’s prominent right now. Any sensation anywhere in the body. Just let it show itself or reveal itself. And you can almost notice the attention seems to be coming out of it. Whether it’s your feet touching the floor, some pressure on your bottom where you’re sitting, something in your chest, tension in the neck or head. It doesn’t matter what it is, but whatever comes to you when you ask yourself, what does the body feel right now? Sensations in the hands or even air moving across the skin. When we just say, okay, I’m gonna just rest my attention there, or turn the attention to that. If you just kinda stop right there, don’t think about it, don’t make something out of it, you might notice it’s almost as if that, the attention or the awareness of, is radiating from the experience itself, from the sensation itself. And it’s very interesting. It’s very absorbing, isn’t it? It’s very intimate.
– [Zubin] It’s intimate. That’s a good word.
– [Angelo] It’s totally intimate, it’s not a big deal. It’s not a big mind exploding experience. But it’s something a little different than I’m used to doing when I’m thinking about things all day long. ‘Cause as if anyone’s doing this along with us, one thing you haven’t been doing probably is really thinking hardcore about the past, the future, problems, solutions, you’ve been actually working with this. And that really does bring you into presence.
– [Zubin] So it pulls attention out of the thought stream and into the body or into the visual field or into the auditory field. Then I was paying attention to my big toe, which was touching the ground. I’m kind of on a tip toe on the ground. And normally I conceptualize my toe as being far away from my brain, and therefore some distal kind of thing that isn’t really central to my experience, but absorbing attention, radiating from that, it becomes everything.
– [Angelo] Right.
– [Zubin] Yeah.
– [Angelo] And when you say that you usually experience that as something distal or distant, what is the nature of that? The distal or distancing? What is the nature of your… What makes you know that?
– [Zubin] I have imagery in my brain.
– [Angelo] It’s a visual image.
– [Zubin] The visual image of the toe down there, the experience that then seems to attach to the visual image in this distal way.
– [Angelo] Yeah, so what we can do is say, oh, I feel my toe. I hope people are actually going along with this, ’cause it’s really interesting.
– [Zubin] You have to do it.
– [Angelo] I can feel my foot on the ground. I can feel my toe. I can feel the sensation, and all I’m interested in right now, for just a moment to do this, to empirically test this, all I’m interested is the raw sensation itself. Like camera RAW before you put it through to a JPEG or whatever, don’t put it through your brain, just let it be what it is, in just the sensation. And notice you may or may not, but probably do have some visual image of the body and where it is on the body. And now notice, without moving your attention from the sensation, that the image you have is a thought. That’s a thought impasted upon the sensation. So gently, if you can, start to recognize, oh, I can actually experience that sensation without the sense or thought of a body. And if you are able to discern that a little bit, they will kinda unpeel, and this, you can get better at this for sure. And as they unpeel a little bit, as the image thought of the body starts to kind of fade out of your interest, and the sensation in the toe, where we’ve hopefully been keeping our attention, that has become more prominent. You can start investigating and being like, can I tell where that is without the body image thought? And just you’re actually asking it of the sensation, and you start to find out it’s not quite so localized all of a sudden, is it? I sure felt like I knew where it was at the beginning and now it’s kinda like all over. And so, again, this may be a very prominent experience for you, or when you start doing it, you might kinda be, oh, this is awkward, I don’t get it. Blah, blah, blah. Just recognize those are all thoughts. So just let the thoughts go and keep your attention in that experience. And you’ll start to notice the experience is kind of not in one place. It seems to sort of be in different places. Sometimes it’ll even feel like it’s in different senses. You get like a synesthesia experience of it. It’s down there and up here at the same time. So these are other ways you can modulate your attention and work with this stuff.
– [Zubin] This is the… So the experience I just had was my toe was radiating like a fire-like, scintillating experience that was here. And I could see the map, the visual map, as as an image, and then allowed it to drop. And that takes, it does, it can take some practice. ‘Cause I’ve done that kind of work before, but just watch the image drop and suddenly there’s just the experience. And as you say, there’s no localization. It almost fills your sensorium so that it’s everywhere and kind of nowhere, like you can’t really pin it down.
– [Angelo] Yeah, and that’s when you start to experience, I mean, you don’t have to go through years of training and awakening and non-dual realization to have the experience of non-dual. You don’t. Because the experience is, in a sense, it’s always here. It’s just, our mind is making so much noise we kinda overlook it all the time. So you can apprehend that experience pretty easily like you’re doing right now. And it will clarify, if you work at it. When I say work, I really wanna clarify, too, that don’t push on this too much. It’s not a forceful thing. It’s not like, goddammit, why is it not working right now? I want to experience non-dual, blah, blah, blah.
– [Zubin] Foot pain.
– [Angelo] Yeah, nah. Just let the sensation teach you, let the sensation show you how it works, what it is. And so this body sensation exercise we just did leads into sort of the next, or a next iteration of how to work with sensation. And that would be, we’ve been directing our attention to a certain sensation or even choosing a sensation from which our attention is directed. Like we just sort of picked a place in the body or we looked at what’s the most prominent, but what if you actually kind of allow your attention to become fluid and allow it to move through the body wherever feels most natural. So for instance, you might start, oh I feel my foot on the floor, but we kinda say, okay, I can feel that sensation. I don’t need to label it, manage it, move it, clarify it. Just allow that sensation to be what it is. And now I’m also going to allow the attention to move anywhere in the body that feels natural to it. It might move up the leg. It might appear in the torso suddenly or in the head or the face or in the hands, but it can move fluidly. You’re kind of giving it permission to move fluidly through the body. You’re kinda giving the body permission to illuminate any part of it, any part of its physical experience that feels natural to it. You could say. So this is a way of experiencing attention or modulating it that is a little more surrendered. It’s not so much I’m directing attention, but I’m letting attention direct itself through the body by tuning into one part of the body first and then letting it move. And at first it might feel real stuck. And it can, when we go through intense experiences or emotional blocks and things and we try to do this kind of exercise, we often find it’s very stuck somewhere. It’s like in the chest. I hear this very frequently from people who go through these shifts, that, “Oh my gosh, all of a sudden “the energy is like stuck in my chest. “And it’s been there for two days.” Or the neck or the head or the gut, and this kind of approach, this allowing the body to sort of direct attention inside of itself tends to help with these things, if you’re patient. Just let it, just say, okay, it’s there. There’s a density there. There’s a density of sensation. My attention keeps going there. Let’s just let it be there for a bit, let that sensation be exactly what it is and just kind of invite it to expand or move if it feels relevant, right? You just kinda give it permission because a lot of times when we’re looking with our attention in a certain way, in a dualistic way, down to the sensation, and we’re like, that’s down there. I don’t want it there. I don’t know why it’s there, it really sets up this like stuck feeling. Whereas if we just kind of start with letting the attention find itself there, and let it be there and observe, experience, allow yourself to drop those thoughts away like it shouldn’t be there, even the hidden thoughts that shouldn’t be there. I don’t want it to be there. I don’t know what it is. If I knew what it was, I could do something with it. Just say, hey, those are all thoughts. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. Let the thoughts be, and just let this attention radiate from the experience itself, wherever it is. You often will find it starts to loosen up. You’ll start to, oh, I start to feel these little movements in other parts of the body. And then you realize it was really the mind that was holding it down in there, the expectation of what it was kind of reinforcing it. Like that which you resist persists. It’s that kind of a thing. And this is really common after awakening, because these, I dunno what you call ’em, pain centers or emotional blocks, they often come out in a very visceral way. You don’t even have to fully feel the emotion. It’s just a contracted center and you know it. But the resistance pattern that has kept that emotion repressed for so long is still very much intact. And that’s what you’re dealing with now. You’re dealing with the resistance pattern. So because the resistance pattern, or the pushing down, is so strong and so pervasive and habituated, and it’s kinda subtle, it’s kinda hidden in the background although it doesn’t feel subtle. You can investigate it in this very subtle way. And by, again, giving the attention, permission to just radiate from the experience itself, the physical experience, and move as it needs to, you’ll often find, oh, it just starts kinda poppin’ up in other places in the body and this starts to loosen up. But it can stay awhile. These densities can stay awhile. But this type of approach and technique with your attention is pretty valuable in these cases.
– [Zubin] I really love the way you described giving the permission for the attention to radiate from the sensation, because we get, there’s a perceptual distortion that I’ve noticed where it seems like there’s a manager in the head that is directing a flashlight from a subject down to what it’s beaming at. And it’s controlling this. And what you’re doing is you’re saying, now, actually really cut the leash there and let the dog kinda do what it’s gonna do, and the dog’ll bark at you and that sound’ll come to you instead of you yanking on the dog, in a way. And that then allows a kind of an allowing, so that that resistance pattern, which I agree, it doesn’t feel subtle, but the subtlety is in identifying it as a resistance pattern.
– [Angelo] That’s right.
– [Zubin] Yeah.
– [Angelo] We don’t usually think the resistance pattern’s the issue. We think the emotion’s the issue. I’ll get somebody messaging me, “Angelo, I’m feeling so much shame right now.” And that’s all they say. But the implication is, I’m feeling so much shame right now. And I don’t want to, and I want to know what to do about it. Which is completely normal. Of course. Everybody goes through that until you really work with this stuff, and then you realize, well, is the shame a problem? Because shame is even a label, but what’s the sensation beneath it? Or what’s the sensation at the core? What is the body saying? And you would go into this place and you find this sensation in there, you find the physical experience, and then you go, huh. But now there feels like a stuckness, something, I don’t know, it’s so dense. It’s so, and I’ll help them interpret that as well sometimes. And say, what I feel from what you’re saying is it’s so dense, it feels stuck, and I don’t want it to. It shouldn’t be like that. And then we can kinda subtract some other qualifiers, some other judgments about it. Maybe it should be there, it shouldn’t be there are both thoughts. It is there. So let’s just experience it. So from that point, when you start to see, okay, the belief that it shouldn’t be there, the labels about what it is, all of those things are kind of superfluous to what it actually is. Then it’s like, okay, you just feel this density, you feel this sort of contracted energy, and you feel some, this is subtle stuff, but once you’ve subtracted those, you start to feel, and there’s something that’s just fundamentally saying no to it or avoiding it. That’s the resistance. It’s a subtle thing. So the way you get under resistance, number one is don’t resist it. Don’t add resistance to resistance. Don’t look at it and go, oh goddammit, I found out what it was. It was the resistance this whole time. You know what I hate now? I hate resistance.
– [Zubin] I hate resistance.
– [Angelo] Yeah, that’s not what you wanna do. You wanted to say, oh, there’s a resistance pattern here, and it’s kinda hard to see. So I want to allow myself to just let my attention show me what it needs to show me to understand, integrate, release whatever needs to be released in here. And this is being, I’m saying it in words, but you can say it in words, or you can just kind of intuit it in into the experience. But, again, the attention will actually radiate from the experience at some point. So, the reason I kind of led us through these practices in that sequential way, as you said… At first, it does seem like a flashlight, and it’s fine to use that kind of analogy to describe attention at first. But over time, when you start to realize you don’t have to have that flashlight image in your mind to wrench your attention out of the thought stream to stick it on one object for one second. You actually start to realize, oh, it’s actually not hard to do this at all. I can rest my attention on a visual experience, the form, the lines, the shape, easily. Then you can start asking, well, where is the attention itself? Because even attention is sort of a thought, like I just did that. And yet that experience is right there. And I can take away the right there in the in the sense of I’m here and that’s there. And just that visual experience, you can even subtract the visual experience qualifier. And now it’s just that. And you can just sit with it, enjoy it, let your attention radiate from it, or let awareness radiate from it, or you can even let a awareness start to bleed into other physical experiences around you or other senses. That’s to let reality show you what non-dual is in its own language. It’s a totally different approach than we’ve been talking about it. Some people will resonate with this. Other people will just say, I don’t understand it. That every time you say it I can’t figure out what you’re saying logically. I don’t know why this is, but some people have trouble with this part early on. The mind is just making too much noise. It’s like, what do you mean put my attention in that? I don’t get that. My attention’s up here. What do you mean? And thinking, thinking, thinking. So don’t get upset with yourself if this isn’t easy right off the bat. If it feels relevant, practice it. If it feels frustrating and you don’t get it come back to it some other time or meditate or do some inquiry or something more, almost like directly logical, using your logical mind to undermine your logical mind. It’s like inquiry. But yeah, if you resonate with this, if you’re like, oh this is interesting. I can feel into this. I can feel the intimacy of physicality, of sound. This is very powerful practice for people who can resonate with it. You don’t need to read about non-duality. You don’t need to even really inquire if you really can pick up that, oh, there’s intimacy here. What is this? And you’re willing to just keep subtracting those thoughts, labels, contexts that we’re pasting over reality all the time. Seemingly. That feeling of distance is just a series of thoughts that keep comin’ in the mind. It keeps saying that’s over there. That’s over there. I know what it is. It’s called this. You’re like, oh, thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. Then we start to let attention radiate from the experience itself. And at some point attention will be radiating from all experience. And it’s because it’s just awareness. Awareness and experience aren’t two things. The sound hearing is also the awareness of the sound hearing. They are one in the same thing.
– [Zubin] When I read the chapter, this wouldn’t have occurred to me that this is a viable practice. And now having done it with you here, and experienced it with you while you’re talking through it, it is absolutely, it’s beyond a viable practice. It is, it’s, It is experiencing, it’s the practice of experiencing unfiltered reality without the labels and the overlays that you described. And it’s intimate. That’s the best word. I mean, you’ve used that word, and it’s hard to understand until you experience it, what it means.
– [Angelo] And just a little taste is plenty. You don’t have to be like, well, that didn’t wake me up. Don’t worry about that. That’s all conceptual stuff. This is reality. Reality is right here, screaming in your face all the time. So, people who are like artists and musicians really get this kinda thing.
– [Zubin] Yeah, yeah.
– [Angelo] ‘Cause they’re tactile with life. That’s their lifeblood is the senses.
– [Zubin] Sound is, what they sculpt with if you’re a musician, and you feel it. Can you imagine you’re in a medical executive committee meeting and you’re sitting there and somebody’s droning on about something, and you decide to take your attention out of your thought stream, which is thinking about dinner or whether your car needs an oil change, and put it right in the table and just keep it there. Or then let it go to the wall or into your leg or into a feeling in your chest. That’s a transformative practice, and you’re in a meeting.
– [Angelo] Mmhmm. You can do this anytime. You can do it while you’re talking to people.
– [Zubin] I’ve done that before.
– [Angelo] Mmhmm, yeah.
– [Zubin] Yeah, yeah.
– [Angelo] And you’d think, oh, but I won’t know what to say. It’s not like that, actually. You can just experience the visual non-dual experience that’s right there. And this just flows. The words come from nowhere. Like all my words come from nowhere. I don’t know this stuff I’m talking about. It just comes and I trust it. It’s just a trust in life. Life just flows. It knows what to do. It knows what to say. Even if it makes a mistake, that’s just what’s happening. It’s fine. It doesn’t matter. And so there’s a trust that you actually learn from life by really trusting the senses themselves, the language of the senses. Learn the, we know the language of thought. We know the language of human communication and words, concepts. The senses speak a totally different language. They speak the language of… Let it teach you what the language of sound is without you interpreting it.
– [Zubin] I love that.
– [Angelo] That’s what it’s about.
– [Zubin] That is great. Angelo, as always, I’m gonna keep this one tight so that we can, people can share it because I think it’s just a powerful, practical thing that people can do. Man, let’s do another one on something else very shortly.
– [Angelo] Okay.
– [Zubin] I love this. Thank you. Guys, share the video. If you’re interested in awakening, check out Angelo’s book. He’s an anesthesiologist. So he’s one of our tribe so we can trust him, right? His book’s called “Awake: It’s Your Turn.” And we’ll link also to simply, or you can search on any app on the iPhone app store, but eventually the Android app store, for Simply Awake which is the app where he goes through some of these meditations mixed with music and things like that. It’s very powerful stuff. And we out. Peace Angelo, thanks, man.
– [Angelo] Mmhmm, thank you.
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