When we giving attention to someone, we are offering them a gift — a gift to help them see themselves from a new, refreshing vantage point. This vantage point we provide necessarily can give them the opportunity to appreciate their own actions, words, or expressions in a new light, as well as hopefully provide a glimpse of a higher Truth within them.
In the same way a torch can illuminate a dark environment, our attention offered to another can illumine a facet of their soul.
As a giver, we must realize our attention has substantial weight. We are literally offering a piece of our soul to the other person. Thus, we must be vigilant and anchored within, for our own self-protection. Is the receiver mature enough to handle our attention? Are we mature enough to maintain our attention without losing our center of gravity? Can we withdraw our attention the moment it is no longer fulfilling? And can we sense if our our attention is misused by someone who is seeking to accumulate it, often known as narcissism?
Whatever our beliefs are regarding attention, we must acknowledge when we give someone our ear, there is our deepest Self behind it, and we must be judicious and deliberate whether and how much attention we offer.
The highest-grade attention we can offer is pure attention, free from expectation, prejudice, or ulterior motive. Such attention doesn’t imply something is wrong or something is missing. It is simply motivated by a dual-desire to enrich the person we offer it to, while at the same time enrich ourselves. Healthy attention doesn’t require any great insight or wisdom either. Healthy attention simply requires openness and a sincerity of heart to listen.
Though on one level there is risk, I do also believe that every sincere act of attention is graced with greater insight. We might not be acknowledged or might be completely taken for granted in a given situation. But whatever goodness we offer does get registered in the higher scheme of things, in the form of greater awareness and clarity of who we are. The clarity takes the form of giving us a clearer decision, coming out of traps, or recognizing a certain pattern we might have been stuck with. So attention, with pure intention, and with solid anchoring, returns back to us with a gift of wisdom no matter what. And we can feel solace with that.