I am particularly attuned to the disorder and messiness of the human world today. Driving along a busy high-street, my eye is drawn towards litter, towards unevenly parked cars, towards the jumble of shop fronts – wildly different designs crowding in upon one another. I feel a little despairing. It’s hard for me to see the coherence here, and all the effort and care that went into constructing this place.
For a colleague, it’s difficulty that’s coming forward most strongly. She’s pressed in upon by her trouble having projects turn out, by all the people who seem determined to confound her intentions, by her confusion about what to do next, by her worries about what might happen. She’s afraid. It’s hard for her to see the huge opportunities she’s right on the edge of.
Someone else I know has just become a father for the first time. He’s suddenly attuned in a new way to the brightness and crispness of the world, the sheer beautiful aliveness of everything, the sense of possibility inherent in each moment and in each person. He’s experiencing both love and life streaming towards him, and from him towards others. The despair of the world is, for a while, far away. The possibility of the world is in, very close.
Each of these different aspects of the world is always present, of course, even when we’re not attuned to them. The world is always in a state of disorder and flux, just as it is always filled with difficulty. It’s also, in so many ways, always bright and crisp, filled with love and possibility if we’ll dare to see it. Chaos and order, love and difficulty, confusion and clear seeing, light and dark, hope and despair, fear and opportunity. Which stand out most prominently for us most is less often a matter of how things are in some fixed sense than of our capacity for attunement, which itself is both a skill and a habit.
And that begs some questions.
Which aspects of the world is it your habit to pay attention to, and which do you ignore, dismiss, or simply not see? How invested are you in keeping this habit going? And what consequences do your habits of attunement or non-attunement to the world bring about: for you, for your work, and for everyone else who gets to be with you?
And can you find out that the world isn’t mostly a particular way, and consequently how many different ways there are of experiencing the self-same situation in which you find yourself?