Friday, October 10, 2014

The Key to Getting Everything You Desire

The Secret to Getting 
What You Really Want:
Part Three
The Key to Getting 
Everything You Desire

Where we are so far --- the treasure map of our journey into thinking about thinking.


We've talked about suffering, which occurs when our thoughts (in the form of beliefs and ideas) fail to match up with what is actually present. To stop suffering, we need to drop old beliefs and let go of ideas that fight against each other and fight against other people's ideas (both conflicting ideas within us and the ideas of others we are interacting with).

Exploring further, we discovered that if we really look within ourselves, we can locate the exact center of our being and that if we look out from that place, we can literally see everything else (including our thoughts) as being external to our sense of being. From this we conclude that we are not our thoughts; we are not our beliefs or our ideas or our body. We are deeper than all these things. This gives us the power to choose whether or not we donate our precious attention to feed any given thought.

Then we expanded on how thoughts often work against us, competing to capture our energy and steal away our attention to feed themselves and to grow stronger. 

The Law of Attraction
We mentioned the four core components of the Law of Attraction:

1. Whatever you want, you get.
2. Whatever you believe, proves itself true.
3. Whatever you think about, surrounds you.
4. Whatever you feel, invites more of that feeling into your experience.

We concluded that each of these four states: wanting, believing, thinking, and feeling, all work simultaneously and are often in conflict internally and also one against another. We saw that they all ultimately run off the energy of thinking. This led us to detail the lifecycle of a thought; to consider how thoughts operate: how like a parasite, they are born, feed on you, grow stronger at your expense, live forever unless you refuse to feed them, and are hard to starve away. Let’s put it even more clearly.

There are 5 stages in the thinking cycle:

1.   Sensations: The raw data that comes into the brain.
2.   PerceptionsThe brain begins to process incoming data according to rules and shortcuts that have developed over time. Associations between incoming data and past perceptual interpretations, evaluations and judgments --- all running at subconscious levels --- give rise to thoughts.
3.   Thoughts: The “packet” perceptual interpretations delivers to the conscious mind for further consideration and processing.
4.   Ideas: As patterns begin to form between different but similar thoughts, ideas form.
5.   Beliefs: Ideas that continue to “make sense” and receive consistent attention turn into beliefs. Beliefs form the heuristics (the rules and shortcuts) that the brain uses to process data in the perception stage.

This brings us back full circle. What we think on a consistent basis turns into what we believe. What we believe influences and forms the filters and processing cues that our mind uses below conscious thought. What we believe literally changes how we see the world around us. What we believe literally dictates how our life unfolds. Beliefs rule the roost. They are at the heart of everything that happens around us.

In physics, we learn that gravity bends time and space. Beliefs are the gravity of our soul. They bend our personal spacetime by allowing certain sensations to pass through the cycle and excluding other sensations so that we do not perceive them at all, or so that we ignore them; which means that they never make it out of the perceptual pool. From this, can you see that to change your thinking, you must first change the beliefs that are creating the types of thoughts that are allowed or are likely to enter into your mind? This is the heart of the Law of Attraction. 

We get what we want

The most simple (and incomplete) statement of the Law of Attraction is that we get what we want. This is true. However. . .

Want arises from the needs and desires of the body, and from thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs. Of all of these, Belief is the pit boss; belief is the hall monitor shaking you down and demanding to see your hall pass. Often, things we think we want never get passed the pit boss of our underlying beliefs. Beliefs run the show and often we don't recognize that we are no longer in charge.

So many of us suffer from the belief that we are undeserving or unworthy. What has already shown up in your life as a result of that belief? None of us wants more of that. As wants arise from beliefs, shouldn't we dig out the ones that harm us, hold us back, or invite suffering and lack into our experience?

Think about how those beliefs are manifesting in your life right now. Is it any wonder that life can be so confusing? Remember, thoughts that are fed attention gain a life of their own. They become sticky. It is not difficult to feed our attention to opposing and conflicting thoughts. Both thoughts will then constantly battle for your attention. Each thought will have its own set of demands, filters, and desires. Since we get what we want, can you see how confusing life can become?

Like a caterpillar devouring leaves or like a cancer eating away at you --- many of the beliefs that you have within you right now work against the life you both desire and deserve. These negative beliefs undermine your relationships, undercut your success, create endless drama and suffering, drain away your life and energy, and generally bully you in unnecessary, unproductive, and undesirable ways.

What do we do?

So what do we do? How can we support the positive thoughts that we want to promote? How can we strengthen the insights that flow in from our highest wisdom places? How can we eliminate negative and distorting filters to promote our greater truth? In other words, how can we live the kind of life that we really want?

We have to take back control --- and the key to everything is attention.


The most pure form of free-will that we have is the choice of where we direct our attention. Once our attention chunks down into a choice, our free-will steps aside in favor of consequences. This is why attention is our most precious resource. What we attend to plants the seeds that blossom in our future. Let me say that again: attention creates your future. Attention is the food that thoughts gobble down to live. Attention is what turns a thought into an idea and an idea into a belief; beliefs create our present. Are you starting to see how it all works together?

Mindfulness is the name we’ve given to the idea of watching our own thoughts, the idea of maintaining awareness of what you are thinking at any given moment, at every given moment. Mindfulness is the process. Mindfulness is your champion, the hero you send into battle to gain and protect your kingdom. 

If you are aware of the thoughts that are sent up to your mind from the perception department, then you are in control. If you are not aware, if you get lost in these thoughts --- because they support and reinforce a belief --- then the belief is in control and that belief is planting the seeds of your future without control or input from you. Then we wonder why our lives seem to have gone so far afield.

The solution is awareness. Awareness takes practice. Lots of practice. The idea is simple; the doing is difficult.

The Practice

The moment you become aware that you are thinking a thought that you know goes against the life you want, a negative thought of any kind, the first step is to --- STOP. (And then stop again, and again, and again, as long as is necessary.) 

Cut off the power; remove your attention. Bear in mind that the belief gobbling down your attention doesn’t want to stop thinking its own thoughts and like a dragon will fight tooth and nail to enslave your attention as long as it possibly can. Attention is gold and the dragon-thought in your mind wants to gather and hoard this gold all for itself.  Negative and poisonous thoughts LIKE to think themselves; it’s fun for them, no matter how much it hurts you or damages your relationships. Like a virus, this is how the poison holds on to life inside of you. 

The second step is to direct your attention to a different thought. The moment you kill a thought by pulling away your attention, your mind is empty. The negative thought will try to rush back and fill that vacuum and once again seize your attention. Push it out and take control of your mental space. Switch your attention to the kind of thought that you know creates the life you want. 

It is a good idea to have a go-to thought pre-prepared, one that you can switch to immediately after you stop feeding attention to the unwanted thought. This means that you have deliberately created a pleasing and powerful thought and spoon-fed it attention. This can be a memory that inspires you, or a mental picture that brings you joy, or a feeling of gratitude for someone you love. It can be a picture that represents something that you desire in your future. The important part is the you have deliberately and consciously spent time feeding attention to your chosen thought, specifically with the intention of using that image to take back your mind when the dragon roars or the monkey starts flinging poo.

When it is too great a leap to go from the dragon or the money to the positive or the glorious, it can sometimes be helpful to leap first to a neutral middle thought --- like visualizing a wooden spoon.

It's your life and it's your mind

Every time you manage to slay the dragon or shoo away the monkey and its weird fascination with poo, you will notice how your shift in attention brings with it a shift in energy and emotion. It moves you from constriction to openness, from feeling down to feeling content. It invites peace. It creates calmness. It plants the kind of seeds that you want to harvest and eat with your salad, rather than the weeds you dread and all the extra work weeds create. Yuck, who wants extra work?

I hope I have laid out a case for learning to watch our own thoughts and for why attention is our most precious resource. Where we place our attention matters. Taking back control of our attention and the beliefs that attention feeds and supports is the key to creating the life we desire and manifesting the relationships we want. Attention, and the awareness it arises from, invites the lasting peace, love, joy and contentment everyone desires and so few consistently attain.

May we work every day to take back control of our own attention and may our lives be filled with love and aloha,

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