Where our attention goes can be a monkey mind or a tame tiger...which do you choose?
Attention may not be something that most of us think about. We go about our day checking off lists, getting our errands done, living life….and often don’t take the time to sit and notice the thoughts happening in our mind until we clash in some argument, disagreement or unpleasant experience. I hear often from people who stub their toe, or misplace their keys, or who get “random” sickness……and it’s often from a surprised victim place or searching for blame about why the event is happening. The one place many don’t go, is inside their own mind. What is happening deep in the thoughts behind the “random” unpleasantness or repeating pattern? This can hold the keys to using the mind as a tool to work with your body and soul.
Our attention is running a dialog all the time, with short periods of rest if you are lucky. These inner dialogs often comprise of statements we heard growing up, things we see on the news or on social media, conversations we’ve had or plan to have. In other words our thoughts are either in the past reflecting on some event or in the future anticipating or dreaming. In the direct present moment there is simply the experience of the body being a body. Breathing, digesting, stretching, feeling cold, warm, hot, tightening or releasing….sensations.
For most people it takes a little time, practice and humility to realize how much inner thinking could be going on and how deeply it can effect anxiety, communication, performing tasks or simply living life peacefully. This blog is for YOU!
Mental strength means you question your thoughts, know how to shift old ones into new perceptions that serve you, and use the power of the mind to visualize and create a future that gives you more capacity to give back and work in alignment with your highest good. This creative act takes focus, authenticity and attention to deepest truth as well as imagination and believing in yourself.
Focus is a commodity with constant distraction tempting us. Developing a pure clear mind to stay OPEN and RECEPTIVE takes intention and discipline. Give yourself a period of time you are devoting to simply expanding your focus. Don’t look at your phone, get off task, or allow distractions from anywhere or anything. Let it be measurable so maybe 1 hour in length or if longer add in breaks to ease fatigue in the mind. What you do during this time is up to you, extra points if it’s creative like painting or dance! Notice the quality of your focus and measure that on a scale 1-10 measuring it every 15 minutes or so. Over time you might increase the challenge by increasing the length of time. Expect it to be uncomfortable…..and move through whatever is happening by staying ON TASK.
It’s also important to notice if the mind starts darting from thing to thing in a conversation, or if listening and following another conversation is difficult…..These are signs that the mind has become in control and “monkey mind” and a detox can help to clear the mind and tame it down. Detoxing can be as simple as not caving in to so much screen time, discipling yourself to sit still and breathe a little bit each day, taking nature breaks or changing any kind of habit to loosen some of the inner dialog that is trying to control you. Underneath all the “noise “ is a powerful awareness that is completely unique to YOU and a source to create with in life that is sustainable and creative. Diving into this space and maintaining it takes practice and diligence and it’s oh so worth it!
There is a saying that “Attention follows Intention” that I believe is true and reveals it’s self in our bodies, over time. If our attention is constantly on what is wrong with us, the medications we need, the problems in the life, what hurts and what needs fixing our intention is subconsciously working it’s way to keep us down. This is usually what I call “SLEEP MODE” and is a default programming many people fall into when not vigilant. Negative thoughts are often the fear based ones that are happening as we narrow down our focus into a small box out of contraction. For instance a thought like “ I am going to be late and I am embarrassed , I can’t be late again…” is coming from fear. It’s probable that this thought even can “make you late” or procrastinate repeatedly instead of changing behavior. Shifting this thought to “There is more than enough time and I am doing my best.” gives you space to breathe, be mindful, and believe it or not eliminates a lot of the tension that weaves into brain circuitry in the brain stem that works from fight or flight. This isn’t a creative part of the brain, this is OLD PATTERNS repeating under the surface. This is the default inner sabateur having a party with your consciousness and watching you diminish into sleep mode.
Waking up takes INTENTION. It takes believing in yourself and through practice realizing you have had this power all along…..just need to stay IN IT and AWAKE. Your deepest truth is that you were a clear open slate as a baby and as you grew you learned how to think, and also how to go into subconscious terrain and if you were lucky, how to go more consciously into thoughts that SERVE YOU to grow and be at peace. Being gentle with yourself as you re-direct your mind back onto the playing field where LOVE resides is important. Love choices utilize the higher consciousness areas of the brain, the imagination, and the open receptive awareness to allow higher thoughts to come through. This means you may have to do some clearing….and on a regular basis. Everything you watch on tv, read, listen too gets stored somewhere and absorbed in the body mind. Clearing out is important so fresh thoughts make their way into your mind. Practices to clear include …..YES, DANCING…..meditation…. art. All excellent choices and you may have your own personal ritual that helps you clear the deck.
Taming the tiger returns you to the full knowing that you have the ability, capacity and control to notice, change and set your thinking into a place that gives you more confidence and ability to create joyfully, EVERYDAY, EVERY BREATH. The tiger mind ( opposite is the monkey mind) is your primal ally in accessing authenticity, focus, grace, and choice. Set your intention, choose your tools and the tiger mind is yours! Roooarrr!!!