Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sacred Eavesdropping

"Man Looking" by tamsen ellen

Every Wednesday, Rob Brezsny's newsletter arrives in my in-box. While I can't always make heads or tails of his horoscope, I often appreciate the excerpts from his book and the abundance of quotes from wise men and women. Last week, he showed how easily our voyeuristic tendencies can be turned into loving kindness...


I've tried a wide variety of meditative practices from many traditions. I've calmed myself through rhythmic breathing; watched with amusement as the nonstop procession of images paraded across my mind; visualized images of deities; cultivated unconditional love; chanted mantras; and taken rigorous inventories to determine whether the integrity of my actions matches my high ideals.

But in my years of study, I've never heard of a form of meditation that would ask me to go to a public place, take my attention off myself, and observe other people with compassionate objectivity. That's why I was forced to invent it. Hereafter known as Sacred Eavesdropping, this meditation builds one's ability to pray in the manner described by poet W. H. Auden: "The definition of prayer is paying careful and concentrated attention to something other than your own constructions."

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