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YIN AND YANG ATTENTION

The principle of yin/yang can be applied to the dynamics of attention. A large part of the training of Zookinesis is to learn that attention itself has dynamics. There is a physics to the energy of attention. Each aspect of attention (its strength, agility, resolution, etc.) can be developed.
Zookinesis recognizes two ways in which attention can be used. In modern times, we use Yang attention. Our attention grabs onto things, whether objects we see or thoughts in our minds. It is an aggressive attention as if the attention was hands grabbing out through the eyes to get things.
Yin attention is different. It is like what happens to attention when you rest. Your attention just drifts and expands. Yin attention is associated with relaxation while Yang attention is associated with agitation and aggression. Both are necessary in balance. When you have too much Yang attention, you may have high blood pressure and people say you are “wound up” or “wired”. If you have too much yin attention, you may be lazy and careless and people say you are “flaky”.
You can imagine yin attention as if your eyes were the edge of a waterfall. The water is like all the things you see, and they come pouring in through the eyes and fall down into the tan-tien (an area just below the navel inside the body. This is the geographical center of the body – the balance point). You “absorb” the world around you with your attention.
Yang attention is associated with action and Yin attention with feeling and awareness. One of the problems in teaching Taoist arts is that people find it difficult to perceive and to act at the same time. Since our attention is single pointed (able to focus on only one thing at a time), we can either perceive or we can react.
There is no biological reason for this. It is just cultural. Zookinesis and Tai-chi-Chuan teach us to use all the dynamics of attention at the same time, to be able to perceive and react simultaneously. In this way you can constantly adjust to the situation. The expression “release your attention” means that you stop holding onto the attention and you let your awareness expand all around you. It feels as if your inner feelings become connected to the world around you.
This is the natural state of a human being. Being disconnected is not natural. Yet if I were to ask you if you were connected to the world around you, you might say you were. There is a difference between being connected because you can see things around you and being connected because your attention is “released” to expand into the environment. This can only be understood through training, or through extensive time spent in nature.
We get a glimpse of it when we are in love because then something flows between you and your loved one and connects you together. For many, it is difficult to experience attention separate from what you are paying attention to. Attention is not the same as thinking and it is not the computer monitor you are looking at.
At the point you do experience this, you have made great progress in your practice. Then you can begin to develop your attention. You will realize that all living things are connected to each other through the energy of attention.