Paying Attention is a Kind of Love

Paying Attention is a Kind of Love

Some of you may already know of Maria Popova, a philosopher and writer who is immersed in language and the arts. If I want to go deep into something combining intellect, and feeling, and artistic expression, I often look to her. Her blog is called ‘BrainPickings.” and is free (although donations are joyfully welcomed). A number of my ministerial colleagues are inspired by her work.

Here is a sample:

Whom We Love and Who We Are: José Ortega y Gasset on Love, Attention, and the Invisible Architecture of Our Being

“Love is an impulse which springs from the most profound depths of our beings, and upon reaching the visible surface of life carries with it an alluvium of shells and seaweed from the inner abyss.”

Maria Popova

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” the great French philosopher Simone Weil wrote shortly before her untimely death. An epoch after her, Mary Oliver eulogized the love of her life with the observation that “attention without feeling… is only a report.” Looking back on centuries of love poems by people of genius who dared to love beyond the cultural narrows of their time, the poet J.D. McClatchy observed that “love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”

Because our attention shapes our entire experience of the world — this, after all, is the foundation of all Eastern traditions of mindfulness, which train the attention in order to anneal our quality of presence — the objects of our attention end up, in a subtle but profound way, shaping who we are.

Because there is hardly a condition of consciousness that focuses the attention more sharply and totally upon its object than love, what and whom we love is the ultimate revelation of what and who we are.

That is what the great Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (May 9, 1883–October 18, 1955) explores in a series of essays originally written for the Madrid newspaper El Sol and posthumously published in English as On Love: Aspects of a Single Theme (public library) — a singular culmination of Ortega’s philosophic investigation of Western culture’s blind spots, biases, and touching self-delusions about love, that is, about who and what we are. . .

The full article, with illustrations that display her artistic tastes, is available at: Whom We Love and Who We Are: José Ortega y Gasset on Love, Attention, and the Invisible Architecture of Our Being – Brain Pickings

Rev. Leland Bond-Upson

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