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"Giving attention steers us back to Center. It opens the vitality of the Universe and brings us back into the stream of Oneness. Giving attention is connective."

Yesterday I was clever,so I wanted to change the world.Today I am wise,so I am changing myself.—RUMI There is an ongoing tension we each face between giving attention and getting attention. Giving attention steers us back to Center. It opens the vitality of the Universe and brings us back into the stream of Oneness. Giving attention is connective. On the other hand, getting attention is a form of drifting from Center. If attention comes your way, well, enjoy, but cultivating it and seeking it is paddling away from Center. Getting attention is deceptively isolating. It ultimately leads to being seen but not held. At the core of it, giving is often more crucial to our health than getting. Giving attention is life affirming. It’s how we attend things. Inner health is often restored when we honor the need to recognize and verify. Somehow, this validates our experience and connects us to the world. However, getting attention is how we are attended to. It seems our yearning for approval drives us to be recognized and verified. Being seen somehow relieves our angst about being insignificant, at le …

This excerpt is from Mark’s new book, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, out this September from Sounds True.


Mark Nepo moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called "one of the finest spiritual guides of our time. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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