'Hummology': attention on the attention
Jan van Delden
Water can not become wetter than it already is. In other words: you don't have to do or not do anything in order to be what you already are. Here follows a practice for giving attention to the unmanifested part of yourself.
For convenience we will call that unmanifested part 'the knowing' and the entire manifest world and everything that takes place in it 'the known'. To say it differently the manifest and unmanifest parts of yourself are the knowing and the known, the perceiving and the perceived. One never changes, the other changes constantly. We are used to directing our attention entirely within the known world and to experiencing the knowing as part of our personality, but now is it time to direct the attention to the attention itself.
To make it somewhat easier in the beginning, find a place to sit or lie where you feel comfortable and will not be disturbed. Then, let it penetrate in you that you don't have to do, or not do, anything to be what you already are: 'being' is thus accompanied by a logical effortlessness. Therefore you don't have to adopt any special attitude as if you were trying to reach some goal.
Observe carefully what belongs to the manifest part of yourself and see that your self the knowing of the manifest- is the unmanifest. Within that there is no image of anything represented, no matter how subtle, to be found. Observe that you cannot use any of your usual capacities, because your entire, feeling and I-feeling belong to the manifest part. Now you direct your attention to the knowing of the known and wait until the 'being there' goes to zero. There is really nothing more to do, and thus your 'not knowing mind' comes forth; silence arrives. This is the silence that appears as an answer when you ask the question 'who am I?' consistently. When that happens a feeling of spaciousness happens and you may for example hear the singing of birds or other surrounding sounds that you had not noticed earlier. Allow everything to be as it is and do not direct your attention to the perceptions (sounds, feelings, etc.) but to the silence in which they occur. Keeping your attention on the silence is your only 'safety-line' to your unmanifested 'being-there'. Everything else belongs to the known world.
In order to keep the attention on the silence more easily, I use the sound of the silence itself the silence is namely not entirely still, there is a sort of hum or buzz of 'being-there' and you can pay attention to that. Direct your attention to that hum. The consequence is that your attention no longer feels tense. Observe that this stillness is always there without any need to do, or not do, anything. That 'burning' or 'buzzing' of the silence is the easiest entry to the unmanifest, and by directing your attention repeatedly to that 'burning' silence the attention grows little by little towards that silence. In the passage of time this will become effortless. When you can effortlessly hold on to that 'being there sound', that humming, and therefore have the taste of the unmanifest as a base, you can from then on take it with you as a sort of 'floating building block' while you just allow the manifest to happen. You witness it, you follow it. In other words you try to 'embody' the practice in your daily life. Slowly the practice will change into just 'being-there'. See if the hum of the silence is there when you are brushing your teeth, washing the dishes or whatever you are doing.
Slowly but surely there dawns in you the awareness that you are keeping the known at a distance because your attention is on the hum of the silence, and that you are therefore the knowing itself. Just as the background becomes fuzzy when you look at a droplet on the windowpane, you keep the known at a distance by paying attention to the silence. You do not have to do, or not do, anything else. If you practice that, even when you don't feel like it, you will see slowly but surely that the whole thinking and feeling is something that is apart from you, you can perceive it, therefore it belongs to the known. That allows you to see that the thinking is of no use in this territory and only exists for convenience or for organizing the known. You will then see more and more that in spite of the chattering of the mind, everything just happens as it happens. The thinker suffers form the delusion that he thinks thoughts and is therefore responsible for what happens. Through the insight that the thinking (just as all other perceptions) is something that appears and disappears in the silence, the 'being-there' will no longer escape you. Take hold of that, as it were, more and more. There follows the insight that silence and attention are the same, and so that 'being-there' comes to its 'being-now' feeling. In this way the effortless 'being-there feeling' becomes the basis of your life and the happiness that you have done so much for emerges through the absence of anything other than what you now 'already are', the eternal, unchanging being-there is a fact.
Finally there remains only to end the delusion that the known part lives its own life, independent of the knowing. That flows into seeing that the known and its manifest worlds do not exist as such. Then you can easily allow your attention to rest at the only thing that actually exists, the simple, silent being-there. Then you are the undisturbed, unchanging happiness itself.