FoAM (Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney)


Attuning to a place, a person (human or otherwise) or even one's own being calls for an open and receptive state of mind. It is an effortless yet fragile state, attentive yet easily shattered by distraction. It is in the present moment, yet provides a broad perspective. One of the ways to develop this state is through the practice of meditation.

Meditation provides a way to reduce the volume of ceaseless chatter “about” the world and help engage “in and with” the world. It enables attuning to a situation with clarity, seeing it just as it is, unclouded by wants and fears, prejudices or judgements. This can be especially valuable in moments of crisis or when faced with circumstances out of your control. It can deepen your appreciation of life in all its impermanent shapes and forms, from the scent of tea, to the majesty of a time worn canyon or the craftsmanship of a well designed building.

Meditation is an exercise in pausing, in recognising the imperative of a pause to transform instinctive reaction into considered response. Attune to a situation before intervening. A direct experience of the world as porous and permeable, without a clear boundary between interior and exterior. For many practitioners this state of equanimous noticing gives rise to a raw sense of compassion. A “being with” and “feeling with”, an attuning to the sensual qualities of the world.

Quieting down and remaining still can enable an attention to phenomena that are too quiet, too big or small, too quick or slow to notice while going about the business of the everyday. An ant carrying food to its nest. The hesitant silence of a child. The gradual accumulation of a landfill. A dead leaf performing its last dance on a chilly breeze. When the only thing to do is do nothing at all, the world reveals itself in all of its detail. The textures of sound, colours, patterns, scents and movements become clearer, vivid and animate.

While meditation is usually trained in stillness, the meditative state is accessible at any speed and in the noisiest environments imaginable. Landscapes and cityscapes become sacred mandalas, attuning the rhythms of the body to the lay of the land. Noticing the interaction between the soles of the feet and the sharp angles of rocks or sidewalks. Following the adjustment of bones and muscles while changing posture in response to the slipperiness of sand or oil stains.

Meditating while engaging with the world is an experiment in focused unfocusing. Attending to an experience without prioritising anything. This isn't always pleasant. You could be attuning to a destructive landslide, a polluted stream clogged by plastic, an overcrowded city. While your instincts might overflow with fear or rage and impulsivity, actions compelled by meditative experiences can be response-able, directly effective and more inclusive of different perspectives. Meditation alone will not save the world, but it offers techniques to engage with the world attuned to its impermanence.

But I cannot tell you if this is really true.
Consider the matter yourselves. Drukpa Kunley


RIP Anggie



Dust and Shadow Reader Vol. 2. Previous: pilgrims rules. Next: attune