unmixed attention - a photographic study in concentration

"The French philosopher Simone Weil said, 'Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.' I love that. I think that could be as close as someone can get to a wonderful definition of prayer. In that sense, prayer has nothing spiritual or religious about it. A mathematician working at a problem or a little kid trying to pick out scales on the piano is a person at prayer. She's not saying prayer is absolute unmixed attention; it's the other way. The attention itself is the quality that she wants to call prayer. So whatever context you're putting it in, whether it's inside a church or inside a toy box, that's the quality that is the sacred one." -- Translator Stephen Mitchell

Weil writes, “every time that a human being succeeds in making an effort of attention with the sole idea of increasing his grasp of truth, he acquires a greater aptitude for grasping it, even if his effort produces no visible fruit.” As we desire the light, we increase our capacity for perceiving it.

All photos from flickr tagged with 'concentration', licensed under Creative Commons.

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1 comment:

  1. A wonderful study. Thanks. I'm a big fan of Ms. Weil and enjoyed the many types of concentration you used.