It’s a Question of How Attention Follows Emotion

What element of my limited awareness most affects my attention? Even needs will only get attention as I feel threatened by my lack of attention to them.

How and how much I feel about an intention, stated or unstated, will affect the outcome I perceive. Knowing, although important to my process of manifestation, does not generate movement towards an outcome. Knowing I have a need, for example, does not predict action on my part towards satisfying that need. Sufficient emotion about that need will. E-motion motivates action.

I attend to that which I feel emotion. My attention follows my emotions. Thoughts can assist me in discovery of those emotions. Thoughts alone, however, are typically merely defenses of my emotions. I do what I do – thought, action – BECAUSE I feel some emotion. The mental aspect of a “because” narrative results in defense of that intention. Emotion always indicates defense.

“Because” is where intention directs attention.

As we’ve discussed above, the intention that gets the attention wins. The intention with the most emotion behind it tends to win the competition for attention.

And yet, even when I put a lot of emotion behind a stated intention, I can sometimes feel disappointed with the outcome. Disappointment is an emotion! I immediately get busy backing my emotion with attention to defending it with excuses, reasons, logic, and denial, etc.

What if the intention was not disappointed – rather, I expressed the emotion of disappointment. Disappointment confirms an underlying intention to feel in order to convince me that I’m alive. Nothing quite like satisfying the intention to live with a sensation of aliveness. Emotion does that!

Perhaps I always get what I feel rather than what I think I want.

Where I’m convinced, I use attention to strengthen and defend the sense of it. I’m also not questioning it. Where emotion is present, I’m far less likely to question my certainty. Yet, this may be the place to ask pertinent questions about it:

  • What do I believe so strongly I can’t question?
  • How does my emotion convince me?
  • Why don’t I question this?
  • Who do I believe I am that appears in this emotional expression?

This brings up a conundrum: I must feel safe enough to inquire. Inquiry makes me feel unsafe. Further, in order for me to feel open enough to respond to questions of my personal feelings, I must trust who is asking. And why. Inside my bubble of limited awareness, my circle of trust is small indeed.

The first thing I may want to do in order to put my mind into a state of inquiry is to interrupt the emotional state I’m in. An inner cry that shakes me, like, “Wait a second…” or “Stop!” can help. In the brief silence afterwards, I move quickly into inquiry mode with:

  • What else can this mean? (other than what I thought it meant)
  • How else can I feel about this? (other than how I felt about it)
  • Why not another intention? (other than the one I had)
  • Who could I be? (other than who did what I did)
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Challenging Certainty of My Prediction

In my limited awareness bubble, I start an experience with an intention that is a prediction. Based on a mixture of complex processes, I use these predictions to perceive and interpret my world. My intention builds certainty as I perceive repetition of confirmation of my predictions.

Some complex processes I use to insure the certainty of my predictions:

  • Imagination
  • Scotoma – lock on/lock out attention
  • Storytelling
  • Justification
  • Creative license
  • Etc.

Strengthening Trust in Predictions

The stronger my certainty, the more likely I am to build expectation out of prediction. Out of the certainty derived from those successes came a sense of trust in my ability to predict my future. That trust leads to productive action, which confirms and thus strengthens my trust.

Prediction is useful as a mental shortcut. Generally, trusting my predictions is faster, more efficient, and more reliable than trying to figure out all possible outcomes as my life evolves. Over time and experience with my predictions, I seldom question them. And yet, as most of us have experienced, this trust can be misplaced. Consider predictive text. I usually look to make sure my text message says what I want it to say. I challenge my phone’s predictions!

How would I know if my prediction is incorrect unless I question it? Why one asks a question affects the level of enlightenment one may derive from their inquiry. Whatever purpose I have for questioning will likely achieve that purpose. For example, if I ask you for agreement, I’ll probably get it regardless of your feedback to me. Thus defending my position and strengthening my certainty.

A questioning mind is an aware mind.

As long as I continue to think as I have, I’ll continue to get what I’ve gotten – until I question my thinking.

To get in a questioning “mood”, I may have to break my current mental state of trust and focus. This may mean using a technique like this brain hemisphere switching technique.

To question my current “reality” and my prediction for my next “reality,” I might ask, for example:

  • Why am I making this prediction?
  • How does expecting this outcome build my trust in my prediction of it?
  • What’s the purpose of this prediction?
  • What other purpose might there be that I’m not considering because I’m sold on the current purpose?
  • What else…?
  • What’s next…?
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Get Serious!

All that I’m certain is right? All the judgments I’ve defended with my life? Total bullshit! Why? Because I now recognize and appreciate the ambiguity of life. A lifetime of adherence to my belief in one absolute truth and no others is absurd! Now that’s funny!

Sometimes war rages within me between “I need to defend my beliefs against any challengers” and, “I choose to question a belief.” Bridging the gulf might ease or stop that war within.

In my limited state of awareness, I judge differences in perception in terms of clarity and confusion of thought. It’s a war of interpretation. If the judgement is about right and wrong, I must interpret my beliefs through limited understanding of both. That because my limited awareness causes me to view everything as a competition of this/vs/ that. Then I defend one side against the other. That’s war!

Ambiguity and Too Many Alternatives

Of course there are times when too many alternatives can give too much flexibility and insufficient structure to my thoughts in a selection process. Yet, the extremes of my selections can reveal the nature of my biases.

I define ambiguity as being open to more than one interpretation – more than one way can be suitable. Of course, if I feel that openness leaves me vulnerable to being judged as frivolous, I might consider openness a threat. Perhaps my defense of seriousness is more about agreement than rightness, unless they are the same. This can be said of my defense of ambiguity as well.

My sense of certainty about what’s right and what’s wrong limits my scope of experience. With intention of focus and purpose, I’ll narrow my choices and experiences into one perfect misunderstanding of everything without ever knowing its alternative.

Where certainty is rightness, ambiguity must be wrongness. How certain am I about that? In limited awareness, some uncertainty is always present. In a vast universe mostly unknown to me, how arrogant of me, in my bubble of limited awareness, to think I know enough to be certain about anything? It’s absurd!

Love that Certitude!

Although in certitude I feel right, justified, and/or proper, the limitations it imposes invites a challenge to the absurdity.

Perhaps I could use the humor in absurdity to question the necessity for defense while lessening the probability of initiating one.

When I begin to recognize the ambiguity inherent in my life, some part of me may put on the doubt breaks – “Wait a second… something just ain’t right here…” As I question my certitude, the absurdity of my truths surface. I may then realize I’ve played a joke on myself.

Imagine the absurdity of all the effort I’ve put into forcing truth onto an illusion. All the while, struggling to survive based on my dogged adherence to a paradoxical belief. The joke lands when I realize the absurdity of the situation and laugh about it.

Getting Serious!

Maybe it’s time for me to get serious about embodying ambiguity – and the freedom doubt offers. Gratitude!

A paradox, sitting at the bar. One turns to the other… and smiles.

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Questioning What I Doubt

In my limited awareness bubble, I live in a world of duality. This or that. Me or not me. Etc. This is illustrated in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. One says, “Go, go, go!” while the other says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.”

Going requires enough certainty to overcome inertia. Whoa requires only a question. Somewhere short of going and dead stop lies an area where doubt can play a role.

Doubt Questions Certainty

It asks, “Are you sure about this…?” For example, my GO program might say, “I want that…” Doubt asks, “How certain are you that you want that…?” Doubt may trigger my whoa program to say, “Hmm, maybe we can’t afford that right now…” Then a process of negotiation may take place.

Doubt can alert me with uneasy feelings that can lead me to question my certainty. Paying attention to such uneasiness answers an internal call to investigate what I’m experiencing.

Why don’t I investigate the ill-feelings behind my doubts? Why do I continue to justify them? I’m more likely to question others about their doubts and uneasiness than I am about my own. Why is that?

Challenging My Certainty

A challenge to my certainty of my survival would imply I could be wrong. Doubt suggests I may be wrong. I have to be right to be safe – and survive. I can’t be safe and wrong. Therefore, I can’t doubt.

I need some certainty and uncertainty to live. Too much certainty and I close myself off. Too little and I can’t hold a thought. Doubt is, therefore, useful – within parameters.

I feel stuck in those choices today because of my belief about doubt! I may feel stuck in my belief about that belief. Therefore, I resist exploring my doubts.

My belief about doubt may be self-recurring, self-regenerating, and cumulative until it becomes… wait for it… certitude.

When I introduce even the tiniest doubt into my certitude, I open a crack in the defense of it.

What if I challenge the belief that I can’t doubt? If I doubt my belief about doubt, I’m likely to trigger defense of it. Dang!

Instead, what if I investigate another way to explore my beliefs than to doubt their veracity? What if I can turn a challenge into an exploration?

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Turning Defense into Acceptance of Accountability

Recently, I heard myself say, “I didn’t intend to…” From my self-protective, bubble of limited awareness persona point of view, this statement makes sense. This deflection, however, resists acceptance of accountability. I don’t question my defense because that would expose something I’m hiding on purpose. What am I hiding? My fear of culpability!

Why do I fear my accountability?

What Can I Do to Reclaim My Accountability?

“I didn’t” and “I’m not” (negations) often offer me an easy indicator of defense. Whenever I hear a negation (n’t, not, never, no, etc.) come out of my mouth, I can assume I’m in defense. Whenever I hear you say those words, and feel your defense, I can assume I’m in defense, too. Defense is defense no matter who shows it because it is I who perceives it. Defense is just an indicator, and so…

Rather than shoot the messenger, my mirror, I can pay attention to the message. Once aware, I’m in a position to accept accountability. To soften my defense, I can use my language to remove the negation out of a defensive statement. Then I have something to work with. “I didn’t intend to…” becomes, “If I did [intend that]…” Then, inquiries into hidden intentions can arise.

The following self-inquiry questions can perhaps lead to self-awareness and acceptance of accountability. Referring to our example above, “I didn’t intend to…” Once I calm my protective persona’s defensive posturing, I realize it’s just an indicator, a message to myself about my unconscious intention to survive.

I can then question that intention by inquiring about how I feel concerning the message. Based on that feedback, I might ask myself, “If I did intend to [do that]…,

  • Who did I believe I was to intend the outcome I observed?”
  • Why did I intend that outcome?”
  • How do I feel now about what happened then?”
  • What do I intend now?”

This inquiry starts a process of acceptance of accountability for my creation. Evidence of acceptance:

  • I would hear few or no negations in my communications.
  • I would hear connecting questions like, “How can I help us reconnect]…?” and “What do you need [for the relationship to reconnect]?” and etc.
  • The other person would report feeling cared about.
  • My body and mind would calm down.
  • A sense of profound joy in connection.
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