An Expensive, Yet Priceless Valentine's Gift
Dear old and new friends,
Wise lovers are already searching for the perfect gift to give on the 14th for Valentine’s Day. While flower, chocolate and jewelry merchants are eager to provide that present, I have a suggestion of a magnificent gift for the person you love. While wonderful, it’s expensive…yet paradoxically it’s free.
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” wrote Simone Weil—to that I add, “And the best gift you can give to anyone (especially someone you love) is being attentive to what they are saying and, as best you can, to the feelings behind their words. Being fully attentive to what another is saying sounds easy, but in reality it is expensive! You must exert all your energy to bring your ever-roaming mind to a silent stand still. Until we attempt to concentrate we are unaware how our mind is constantly somewhere else then where we are. A common complaint about attentiveness is being distracted while praying, as this folk tale shows.
Once a holy man was riding his donkey down the road to the village, and walking beside him guiding the donkey was his newest young disciple. After a while the disciple asked, “I notice Master how peaceful you look; what are you thinking about that makes you so peaceful?” The old man smiled, “I’m not thinking about anything!” The disciple replied, “I wish also to be that peaceful so I will join you and think about nothing.” The old holy man smiled, “Ah lad, that’s not easy to do. However, if you can think of nothing else for the space of praying one Our Father, I’ll give you this donkey of mine.” Eagerly, the disciple said, “I accept,” and began softly praying the Lord’s Prayer. Upon reaching “Give us this day our bread…,” he stopped and asked, “Will I also get the saddle?”
Regardless if you are praying or visiting with another, we are habitually inattentive. The good news is that habits can be broken! Consider using Valentine’s Day as the ideal lover’s day to break your old bad habits by beginning to be fully attentive in performing the unimportant minor tasks of life until that simple practice becomes habitual.
Unaware to us, everything in recent years has been speeding up around us as if trying to keep pace with our ever-escalating technology. So today, except for those in nursing homes, we all suffer a severe scarcity of time! Being always short of time encourages us not to waste it by doing only one thing at a time. Simultaneous multitasking causes us to do none of the tasks well, and sadly results in the radical erosion of being attentive to anyone or anything!
Daily give the fullness of your attention to everything you do, and by doing this discover that you’ve been gifted with an enormously enlarged experience of life.