Jacques Lusseyran on attentiveness to pressure

A lenticular cloud formation above Mount Fuji in Japan.

A lenticular cloud formation above Mount Fuji in Japan.
Image credit: Wayfaring Travel Guide - Fantastic natural phenomenons

Being attentive unlocks a sphere of reality that no one suspects. If, for instance, I walked along a path without being attentive, completely immersed in myself, I did not even know whether trees grew along the way, nor how tall they were, or whether they had leaves. When I awakened my attention, however, every tree immediately came to me. This must be taken quite literally. Every single tree projected its form, its weight, its movement—even if it was almost motionless—in my direction. I could indicate its trunk, and the place where its first branches started, even when several feet away. By and by something else became clear to me, and this can never be found in books. The world exerts pressure on us from the distance.

The seeing commit a strange error. They believe that we know the world only through our eyes. For my part, I discovered that the universe consists of pressure, that every object and every living being reveals itself to us at first by a kind of quiet yet unmistakable pressure that indicates its intention and its form. I even experienced the following wonderful fact: A voice, the voice of a person, permits him to appear in a picture. When the voice of a man reaches me, I immediately perceive his figure, his rhythm, and most of his intentions. Even stones are capable of weighing on us from a distance. So are the outlines of distant mountains, and the sudden depression of a lake at the bottom of a valley.

This correspondence is so exact that when I walked arm in arm with a friend along the paths of the Alps, I knew the landscape and could sometimes describe it with surprising clarity. Sometimes; yes, only sometimes. I could do it when I summoned all my attention. Permit me to say without reservation that if all people were attentive, if they would undertake to be attentive every moment of their lives, they would discover the world anew. They would suddenly see that the world is entirely different from what they had believed it to be.
Jacques Lusseyran in Against the Pollution of the I: Selected writings of Jacques Lusseyran, (New York: Parabola Books, 1999), p. 32-3. Cited by Luke Storms in Parabola Newsletter (06.17.2011).

Jacques Lusseyran Posted on behalf of on Sunday, June 19th, 2011 under Quotations.


  1. i really appreciate this. very timely. and so beautifully articulated. i printed it out and will take along my prague journey. : )

  2. This quality of taking it in, being aware of the ‘pressure’, reminded me of the following quote:

    “In order to hear, one must be silent.” I find it interesting that we can literally be quiet, yet not so silent within and do feel that when one can be still on the outside and inside, magic sort of happens. From the mystical sources, I gathered that to mean a sort of inner peace, where one naturally are more aware, especially the things outside of ourselves that shares space.

    Personally, this seemed like one of the harder and most personal challenges.

    Thanks for sharing such ideas and seeds.

Leave a Reply

You can embed videos and photos in your comments just by including the URL. Here's a list of supported websites and instructions.

You can use these HTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>