There are two things in life that will determine how many bumps you have in your road ahead. They are attention and intention. When you direct your attention you give life and energy to the idea on which you have placed your attention. The more attention you place upon it, the more life it takes on and the more real it seems. This can have both desirable and undesirable effects.
If you are worried enough that you may get laid off from your job and you keep thinking about it and worrying about it, the worse you feel and the more worried you become. Placing your attention on it can be such a magnetic pull that you actually do get laid off.
Conversely, if you have applied for a posted promotion that you know you are qualified to manage and you place your attention strongly and continuously on it, chances are you will have a better chance of it appearing in your life. If you add your intention to get the promotion with equal strength and conviction, you add another layer of pull.
I’m sure you’ve been sitting in your car or in a public place and sat watching someone. Soon that person will turn and look at you. They can feel the pull of your attention.
The power of your attention can be a hindrance or an advantage. When you use it to consciously better your life, it can be of great advantage and benefit. However when a subconscious program of self-harming ideas comes bubbling out and you place your attention on them, it becomes a wall between your intrinsic strength, happiness, love and initiative. Every single moment brings us to the threshold of a rewarding and better life. If we can become conscious of the subconscious thoughts, we can direct our attention to a more positive direction. Forming this habit, brings about a stronger will to help us direct our attention to what we truly want. A higher part of us takes over and lifts us out of the darker place.
In order to see where we truly want to be, we need to see how our attention can lead us astray and direct our attention where it should be. Imagine you have a thought that comes to mind that reminds you of a problem you have been having. This problem has been bothering you. The thought now has your attention and you think about it and define all the parameters of your problem, including the cause. Now, you have animated the thought and given it life, but the life you have given it, is your own. Let me explain.
Imagine someone is walking through the office to take a note to the receptionist. The boss walks by and gives the person a blank look. A thought pops into the person’s head that the boss is not giving him/her the recognition s/he deserves. The boss doesn’t like them or will criticize them at the first opportunity. S/he focuses attention on the thought and it becomes more bothersome as the day progresses. When s/he gets off work, it is the dominating thought racing around inside his/her head. When s/he gets home, s/he can’t relax and is reactive with family members. A big deal has been created out of the meeting of a passing glance and misguided attention.
The most amazing thing about this story is this whole drama has been played out inside someone’s head. Not only does the person not see that it is self-created, s/he blames his/her heartless boss.
Trying to get rid of the painful feeling puts the person into a process of dukeing it out with the boss, either literally or in their mind. The more the person feels punished by the situation, the more s/he wants to fight with it. The mind goes berserk trying to wrestle the fact that the boss is out to get him/her and bring it to resolution. S/he feels that the problem is outside of themselves and therefore separate. That darn boss is to blame. The reality is that s/he gave the thought its existence by unconsciously permitting his/her attention to be attracted to it.
Nothing will change until the person realizes that it was his/her own attention that animated the thought in the first place. By becoming aware of each thought and consciously choosing to give it attention or not one can change the direction of life from a negative, everything-happens-to-me existence to an I-only-want-good-for-me one.
Don’t get me wrong. Suffering and pain can be a wonderful stimulus to do everything in your power to make your life better. After all, we know how to suffer because we’ve consented to having dismal and painful thoughts. The real joke is we’ve animated those thoughts so they have controlled and directed our behavior to overeat, over spend, worry, be angry, drink too much, smoke too much, drive too fast and a thousand other self-destructive habits and behaviors.
By using our attention to observe these thoughts, we can take the first step to say no and withdraw our attention from them permanently. By withdrawing your attention over and over again, as many times as it takes, you are literally withdrawing your permission for those thoughts to enter your head in the first place.
At the first moment you become aware that you feel emotional pain, anger or fear, look at where your attention is. That stellar moment is the time to use the anger to see that it is inside you. Your attention now sees you’ve been shouting your frustration at someone that isn’t even there. Your painful thoughts are inside your head, there is no one beside you to shout at, no one to be angry at. If we see how ridiculous it feels to have an imaginary angry shouting match with someone who at the moment only exists inside your head, you become more willing to disconnect from it and take the life away from the thought. You see, if you gave this imaginary angry interlude life inside your head, you can take it away, too.
A really good exercise that doesn’t take too much time is this. At different times during the day, break into your thoughts and observe what you are thinking about. Assess the thought and see if it is one worthy of your attention or not. Does this thought contribute positively to my life or not? You may realize that there is no reason to be thinking that particular thought. You may observe that you feel irritated because of what you perceive could happen in your thought scenario. You also observe that there was no need to think that thought and the mood that it created is not real. It too, is inside your head. By becoming awake to these thoughts, you can use your intention to withdraw your attention from that thought. Thoughts that are of no value or benefit to your life, only create discord and skirmishes in our minds as we expect some notorious bad guy to leap from the bushes and attack us. Empty mind and peaceful, positive, forward thinking thoughts create a much better life.