Attention is Generous


You never know when inspiration will strike; the trick is paying enough attention to notice when it does. A few months ago I was in my daughter’s classroom for the end of the year writing celebration; an opportunity for the children to read something aloud that they created in school.

On the back table my daughter’s teacher had baked some muffins and put out a note explaining the types of muffins she had baked. On the note she also included a quote. The inspiration hit me and I took a picture of the note so I could remember the quote later.

       “Attention is the rarest and purest from of generosity” by Simone Weil

I understood the teacher’s intention by including the quote; in a classroom full of parents watching children she was asking us to turn off our cell phones and be respectful. But this statement went to a deeper place for me. It had been a crazy time and I realized I hadn’t been generous enough with my attention to my children. I vowed to be more generous. I also realized how powerful this statement was with regard to Yoga practice.

This past week I asked my students to give themselves that rare and pure form of generosity both in their bodies and then hopefully their minds and hearts as well. To pay true attention and then feel the reward of their bodies being generous back to them. To turn off the “cell phone” in their minds and commit full attention to what was happening on their mat.  By using the breath and movement of flow on the mat and taking a rest when needed;  we opened, lengthened and stengthened our bodies and then let the mind take over as we released in Savasana. This generosity works off the mat as well. When we are generous to ourselves in body and spirit we have the capacity to share that with everyone around us.

As we cultivate the lost art of complete focus and attention on one thing; put away our cell phones and give our full attention to both ourselves and others, the power of what can come from that is pure generosity.

It seems I have two messages this week that go together… offer yourself and others the rarest and purest form of generosity by paying true focused attention AND with that attention, be open to inspiration in whatever way the universe offers.

I discovered something I needed to be reminded of that day when I read that simple quote. I am always grateful for the inspiration and generosity around me and equally grateful that I was paying enough attention to receive it.