A Zen student once asked his teacher Zen master Ikkyu,to sum up the highest wisdom. The master responded to this enormous question with a single word scratched in the sand; ''Attention.'' The student wasn't satisfied and asked him to elaborate. Ikkyu wrote ''Attention. Attention. Attention.
Like this Zen student I've been struggling with attention. How to be really present in the moment with the internal and external realities. The listening energy we work to awaken and develop in T'ai Chi has helped me to get some more understanding of
attention. We learn to listen not only with our ears but with all our senses. In pushing hands we use our hands to listen to each other. We learn to 'hear' the presence in the touch and with pactice to 'hear ' it is the spaces between touch. That equally rich and meaningful space we could call absence. Space is what allows us to see the objects and absence allows us to know presence.