Attention : absence of tension ?

The term “attention” derives from the latin “attentio”: put your mind to/focus on. Indeed, when we give something our attention, our mind pays attention to it.

It may even goes so far as to get us fixated on it and being caught up in a sort of tunnel vision. Our field of vision might indeed become narrower and as a result, we might pay no more attention to the things around us.

cat with attention
That fella is miles away…

Despite its latin etymology, we may also ponder its hidden meaning, especially when studying the implication of the letter “A” in Sanskrit, which bears the meaning of “without”, “lack of”.

As a result, what if “Attention” were meant to imply “Without tension” ?

This way of seeing things correlates the lack of tension and our greater ability to perceive things around us.

A different sort of attention

This has often been pointed out in martial arts or in the Zen doctrine, for instance, where greater concentration may be a result of non-attachment and of us letting things go naturally, following the Dao or natural way, as such. In such a state, we may perceive things that are around us without losing focus on our rooting. Inner peace could be achieved more easily.

Indeed, Zen or other martial practices also stress the importance of being relaxed or 放松 before entering calmness – 入静。As a matter of fact, it is often advised to relax before practising Qigong so that the energy circulates smoothly.

absence of tension
That’s a zen cat…

Therefore, would attention be synonymous with “absence of tension” ? Would calming down and reaching peace of mind have any effect on our perception ? I tend to believe so. Be attentive would thus be a quiet way of observing ourselves and what it is all around us more deeply.

That notion gives us quite a lot of food for thought…

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