This stage is about being fully engaged with what we are doing.
Seeing what the qualities of our focus of interest are, how it works – studying each part and seeing how they relate to each other and the whole. This process also means finding out how what we are engaged with fits with us.
This process can take anywhere from seconds (say drinking a glass of water) to years or a lifetime (perhaps investigating a philosophy or spiritual tradition, or a relationship).
At this stage we are focussed entirely on what ‘it’ is.
We lose a sense of ourselves and become fascinated with what we are investigating – what ‘it’ is, how ‘it’ works, how ‘it’s’ put together, what ‘it’ can do and what ‘it’ can do for me. These are those times when we look up and discover that ‘time has flown’. Although we have been ‘working’ very hard we can feel curiously refreshed and satisfied as well.
This stage ends when we have a sense of what the ‘thing’ is and have made it a part of us (drunk the water, taken what we can use from the philosophy or spiritual tradition, crafted a way of relating to the other person).
At this stage being concerned with ourselves and interests will interfere. We need to be able to focus fully.
However this is different to being obsessive. When we get obsessive it is usually because we are keeping something else at bay – the obsessiveness is fighting against something.
When we are genuinely fascinated by something our interest has a relaxed quality.
The best picture I know is a craftsperson lost in their creating – you will see that their shoulders aren’t tight, that they are completely focussed and relaxed at the same time.
What ‘things’ fascinate me?
What do I back to over and over again?
What have I explored thoroughly, so that I have a good sense of its parts and the whole thing?
What things capture my attention at the moment which I would like to explore?
Do you tend to get obsessive?
About particular things?
Do you have a sense of what you may be fighting against?
The other articles in this series are: