paying attention is a spiritual practice
Here part of your spiritual practice is to cultivate a watchtower, where you look at the world around you and you look at your circumstances with great objectivity—discerning any problems before they arise, discerning hazards before they come upon you, discerning the nature and intentions of people around you and whether any of them have yet discovered the power and the presence of Knowledge within themselves. This is an antidote to self-obsession and really to obsession of any kind because you cannot be paying attention to your own inner experience and the world around you and be obsessed with other things.

Here going up in your watchtower to look at the horizon of the world; to look at your immediate circumstances; to be watchful for hazards or problems and opportunities as they arise is not something you just do once in a while. It is actually part of your spiritual practice, something around which you develop a set of skills.

Here you practice stilling your mind to be observant. Here instead of immediately judging the world or reacting to situations around you, you begin to discern them more objectively. You check your own reactions and impulses so that you may become aware.

This is especially important now because humanity is entering times where the insulation for people in the wealthy nations, or anyone who could afford such things in the past, will have to now face a more turbulent and difficult world—a world of declining resources, a world of greater competition between nations, a world that will have many stresses and challenges. You cannot be lost in your romances and your fantasies and your dreams and be able to make it in a world like this. So the watchtower becomes ever more important for you now.

Great Waves of change are coming to the world—all converging at this time, creating a set of currents and cross-currents that are so complex and interactive that it will be nearly impossible for anyone to discern how things are going to play out. These Waves are very powerful. They can deprive you of your employment. They can deprive you of your wealth. They can deprive you of your opportunities. And, in extreme cases, they can even deprive you of your life.

To be unaware of them, and to not pay attention to them, is clearly foolish and unintelligent. To simply complain about the way things are or condemn people who you think are responsible for the difficulties of the world is really not to be present. It is not a state of awareness. It is not a state of clear observation. To avoid the world, to deny what is happening around you, to protect yourself or to try to keep your fantasies and preoccupations alive, is clearly unintelligent and self-destructive.

How many people are caught off guard by situations they were not anticipating and for which they were unprepared? Look in the world around you and you will see how people are suddenly overtaken by changes in their economic life, by changes in the climate, by changes in the social or political makeup of the world in which they live.

If you are not watching, then life will carry on, and it will overtake you. And because you are unprepared for it and did not anticipate it, it will have a great and often devastating impact upon you.

The Creator of all life has given you a greater Intelligence, the power and the presence of Knowledge within yourself—a Mind beneath the mind that you think with, a Mind that is wise and powerful, a Mind that is not corrupted by the world. This Mind is here to guide you, to protect you and to lead you to your greater accomplishments and relationships in life.

Knowledge will exert itself in these ways, and you will feel its impact and its guidance, its encouragements and its restraints, if you are really present to your own inner experience. But if you are not present, if you are preoccupied, if you are busy all the time, running around like a crazy person, if you are driven by the needs and expectations of others or by your own insecurity, you will not hear and experience the expressions of Knowledge within yourself or even within other people.

In a social setting, someone may have a moment of prescience where they see something important and they report it to their friends or acquaintances, and nobody really wants to hear it. Nobody wants to deal with it. People repudiate it. They deny it, or they just avoid it altogether. Here you can see in so many circumstances how the deeper Intelligence that every individual possesses is thwarted by social attitudes and by the general state of mind of people around them.

Here people do not want to talk about certain things. They do not want to think about certain things. They are so afraid of themselves and their own experience, and they are so afraid of the world that they want to live in a little world of their own creation, indulging in their own thoughts, hopes and fears. They want to live this little life—undisturbed by the world, unfettered by the world and uninterrupted by life. This is so clearly unintelligent and self-destructive because you are part of life. You were sent into the world to participate in life. And Knowledge within you is here to guide you to become aware of your own experience and of the world around you very profoundly.

So clearly here people’s self-denial and the reality of Knowledge within them are in great contrast to one another and are moving in extremely different directions. Here it is so very important to snap out of your dreams, to recognize the degree to which you are unaware of your environment, of people and of your own deeper experience and to see that really what spiritual practice is, is reconnecting with the power of Knowledge within yourself and reconnecting with the world around you.

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