The power of attention

Boy stares at pebble, the power of attention
© Sweet Marjoram

What you resist persists. What you push against you give life to, because it’s all about attention.

We have preferences, choices, so choose with your attention. Remove attention from things you don’t want to experience. Resistance just makes them bigger.

If a thought comes to mind you don’t like, don’t try to get rid of it. Simply notice it, let it be, let it go and remove your attention. If a situation NEEDS your attention to get a resolution, then focus on “What’s the desired outcome?” Clarify that.

You can’t get rid of what you don’t want by paying more attention to it.

Mother Teresa was once asked if she would go to an anti-war rally. She said…

“No, but tell me when there is a peace rally and I’ll be there.”

She knew that focus on peace brings peace, focus on war brings war. That’s incredible information when you really ponder it. What are the different feelings in the two scenarios? Anti-war vs. peace? Mother Teresa understood the power of attention and feelings.

If anything comes into your life or your mind you don’t want, then turn attention to its opposite and make that bigger instead — clarify and give life to the positive desire.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

4 thoughts on “The power of attention

  1. The HOW is what these kinds of articles don’t elaborate upon. I get the concept of what your saying. Truly, I do. But I don’t know HOW to actuate it. Anxiety seems to grab hold and lock on and nothing else seems possible until it passes on its own free will, like its some separate entity to my choices. What’s your thoughts in this regard?

    Thanks. I really appreciate your posts.
    Angie

    1. Hi Angie, thanks for your kind words!

      Great question about “how”. In short, your ability to choose the focus of your attention depends on your overall “state”.

      You mentioned anxiety — yes, absolutely — trying to choose the focus of your attention when anxious is extremely difficult. Anxiety is a “fight or flight” state. It’s do or die, survival. It’s a state that is intended to save your life.

      The big short term answer to anxiety is to exercise. That’s what the “fight or flight” state is designed for so when possible, exercise and burn off that adrenaline. There’s more about anxiety here, definitely worth a read because there are other short-term tips that you may find useful:

      https://happy.guide/2009/12/12/anxiety-and-worry

      It’s also worth looking at any root causes of anxiety. A lot of people’s careers for example cause a lot of stress. Ideas of success, of “achieving” can drive people to push themselves too hard for literally decades.

      Now, going back to our overall “state”. The overall aim is always to create the “state” of happiness. The big causes of happiness are health and peace of mind, and there are six lifestyle elements we must pay attention to, in order to create those conditions:

      https://happy.guide/2012/06/03/six-habits

      Everything affects everything else, but generally speaking, the last two on that list are there to create peace of mind: Organization and Living in the moment.

      Getting organized is important because how can we feel relaxed and spontaneous, if we don’t know that everything important in our lives is taken care of? The idea is to get everything OFF our minds and into a system, thereby minimizing anxiety and stress in our lives. There’s more on that here:

      https://happy.guide/2010/10/27/best-good-habits

      Living in the moment is achieved through practicing awareness, so that everything becomes a meditation. This allows us to gradually start breaking up our thought streams. By shutting up the mind chatter, we can become ourselves again and we find it easier and easier to choose the focus of our attention. Here’s our simple method for doing that:

      https://happy.guide/2011/10/27/start-meditating

      I hope this helps Angie. Sorry for such a long answer. Meditation is “the big one” in terms of quietening the mind and allowing us to choose what we put our attention on. But as I say, everything in our lives affects every other thing, so it all matters :-) We need to create the right conditions, so that we can live our lives in a healthy, relaxed, peaceful way.

      Please ask if I can clarify anything :-)

      Best wishes,
      James

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