September 26, 2023

This publish was written with Josh Bartok.

“Each single second of consciousness is a second of apply, whether or not we prefer it or not. We’re training to grow to be ourselves. The vital query is admittedly simply how a lot we wish to take part within the course of.” –Andrew Olendzki, Unlimiting Thoughts

Source: Josh Bartok, used with permission

Supply: Josh Bartok, used with permission

In my earlier publish, I shared adrienne maree brown’s quote, “What we take note of grows,” and shared how I used that perspective to make my commute a extra constructive expertise. Right here I’m going to look at how that precept can (and does) form all features of our life. As Andrew Olendski says above, the whole lot we do with our physique, mouth, and thoughts—and notably what we convey our consciousness to—builds the habits that make up our expertise. So: how can we make selections that improve this strategy of “becom[ing] ourselves”?

A technique this performs out in my very own life is that once I convey my consideration, time and again—by way of ruminating on or railing in opposition to—to individuals or conditions that frustrate or damage me, my sense of frustration and damage grows. It involves dominate extra of my interior and outer expertise, taking on increasingly area. Whereas it’s after all useful to note these emotions and obtain data from them, that does not imply that it’s useful to repeatedly feed these emotions with my ongoing consideration, rehearsing conversations or experiences time and again.

After I as an alternative (or additionally) convey consideration to individuals or conditions which might be joyful, or caring, or type, my sense of connection, wholeness, and belonging develop and I’m extra in a position to dwell into and enact these values all through my life. I’m additionally extra in a position to take skillful motion to deal with areas of injustice and hurt, the precise sorts of issues that so simply (and unproductively) devour my consideration. My expanded consideration helps these valued experiences to develop in order that I’ve much more that I can attend to; it’s like watering and fertilizing a plant’s first rising shoots.

After I domesticate these experiences, I grow to be extra open and versatile in ways in which enable me to be simpler once I do select to show my consideration to experiences of hurt and frustration. This apply permits me to be extra grounded and balanced, which makes extra space for me to choicefully take actions and supply responses, slightly than impulsively reacting with none aspect of alternative ever being concerned.

How can we broaden our consideration?

What we attend to is a behavior, and upsetting conditions naturally seize our consideration. So, if we don’t convey intention to this course of, we’ll naturally discover and deal with issues which might be upsetting by way of the drive of conditioned behavior. Step one in increasing our consideration is training noticing what we’re attending to whereas we’re attending to it. We are able to use totally different methods to point instances that we must always verify in to see what we’re attending to:

  • Set particular instances of day like morning, midday, night, and bedtime.
  • Test in once we transition from one job to a different or one setting to a different.
  • Test in at instances once we really feel rigidity in our our bodies or any sort of discomfort.
  • Test in when our moods are down or irritable.
  • Test in after the very fact once we discover we now have taken actions or stated issues we later remorse.

After we discover that our consideration is concentrated on the adverse, we are able to consciously select to softly broaden the sector of our consideration. We are able to do that in quite a few methods, reminiscent of:

  • Increasing our sensory consciousness and noticing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or sensations with curiosity.
  • Making some extent of noticing moments of pleasure, connection, care, studying, marvel, gratitude, awe, or satisfaction all through our days.
  • Making a listing (psychological or written) of issues we appreciated, loved, or felt grateful for on the finish of the day.

Every time we deliberately information our consideration, we’re strengthening these habits of consideration and weakening the habits of focusing solely on the distressing features of our lives. So we are able to apply time and again and once more. On this means, we are able to step by step develop the elements of our lives we now have been ignoring by watering them with our consideration–and on this means, entire gardens can start to flourish.

As we do that, it’s vital that we don’t attempt to push away the worrying issues that seize our consideration. These are a part of our lives as properly, and attempting to push away what can’t be pushed away gained’t change that and it’ll really make us extra entangled with them. The ache we really feel from life circumstances and occasions is actual and must be choicefully honored as properly.

Consideration Important Reads

For me, it’s useful to think about that I’m widening my consideration in order that though I’ve all of the worrying, painful, and irritating issues nonetheless, I’m additionally taking within the issues that really feel rewarding or significant. And this has, for me, led to a richer, fuller expertise of my life.

So: What do you wish to water together with your consideration at this time?