It has been said that we have entered a time when we are being challenged to develop our intuition. Many believe that we will be better served by having our intuitive faculties have at least an equal role in how we live life, make choices and decide how we wish to respond to what is in front of us.
I am inclined to believe that this is true. We see increasing examples of overwhelm that flood the (normal/usual) conscious thinking mind resulting in inaccurate responses and forgetfulness. Our intuition is faster and more accurate than the “normal” mind and could take us out of the overwhelm and make forgetfulness irrelevant.
Rather than thinking in terms of normal/abnormal, or usual/unusual or lower /higher, it may be more helpful to simply look at the mind as having different ways of paying attention. First and second attention are terms that are useful in understanding these differing aspects of mind.
Second Attention is an aspect of mind that focuses more on the intuitive, spiritual,or inner world as opposed to the more common mind (first attention) that focuses on external realities. We certainly need that outer focus and the aspect of mind that facilitates it, but that is not all of who we are and it is not what may be most needed at this juncture in time as we are being challenged to evolve, stretch our limits and create a new world that works for all of humanity’s support, nurture and survival.
Our five senses draw our attention to the outer physical world. When we have an outer directed focus we look for our inner needs to be filled through material sources. This is usually a short lived and unsatisfying solution. You may have experienced this at some time in your life! Interestingly (and painfully!), this orientation tends to lead to blame, criticism, judgments, and compulsivity (repetitive behaviors expecting a different outcome).
From a spiritual perspective being outwardly directed tends to produce reliance on a spiritual being external to ourselves. We beseech this Great Being to bestow favors upon us –and we continue to define ourselves through the physical, roles and material possessions–a limited consciousness that has limited results. In addition, it a mindset that begins and ends in fear—never particularly useful! Such a mindset, or perspective, leaves us up one day down the next as there is no real inner center to hold on to. Like it or not, change is inextricably woven into the fabric of life and a consciousness that is deeply focused on and attached to the outer world does not help you to move gracefully through cycles of change. AND such a focus certainly does not help to increase your capacity to function in the world in a meaningful way that leads to peace, joy & happiness!
Second Attention can be likened to your intuition, gut feeling, inner knowing or sixth sense. This sense is about an inner awareness that can assist you to resolve issues, release struggle and longing and receive the true fulfillment of your deepest desires.
Developing this aspect of self is an inner path allows you to (1) examine thoughts, feelings and beliefs that lead to problems and root them out at the core which is far more effective than struggling against the consequences of living with an unexamined mind, (2) open the way to more creative problem solving, (3) expand your consciousness beyond the physical and material world and awaken you to who you truly are, (4) help you to transcend limitations, expand creative ability, and step into your true power. And in the process you can also gain increased tolerance, ease of being, happiness, understanding and vitality!
Expansion of Second Attention
Proper alignment and attunement of the energies of body, mind and spirit goes to the core of developing second attention through a clear and present awareness. This awareness allows you to know what is good for you, and helps to attract to you those things that assist you to be happy and healthy. You also become more conscious of what robs you of your natural healthy state and eliminate the sources of your struggles.
Developing your inner awareness and learning how to manage your energy involves learning to listen to your body and mind in a new way that helps you to create health and happiness from the inside out! It is also about bringing balance to your life, fulfilling a basic need for purpose and meaning, as well as opening to the wisdom available to you. Educating yourself about how to work with energy can also aid you in riding the waves of life more gracefully. We all have an innate capacity for joy, pleasure, harmony and a balanced spiritual toughness (resiliency) that goes largely untapped. These inner capabilities can help us to find pleasure in everyday life.
As a culture we are grappling with yearning for deeper connections within ourselves, with each other, and the world around us. We also are facing challenges that go beyond the capacity of the common mind to rise to and move beyond. We need a higher perspective and more highly creative solutions to birth a sustainable new world. A new human has been posited to be a part of creating that new world through having greater access to the higher qualities of mind (insight, creativity and intuition) as well as being an inhabitant of it. Inner development is needed to fulfill those realities. Learning to develop our mind and its abilities, to masterfully navigate our mind-body systems, and work with personal and universal energy we can accomplish these tasks.