Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you were missing something? Or you talked to someone else and they described the situation completely differently? Have you ever got stuck in a mental or emotional groove of "just feeling" a certain way; or just interpreting events in a certain way? Feeling sad, feeling angry; feeling anxious, feeling attacked. Sometimes it might be about a certain person or problem. Other times it might feel like life in general is against you. I know I have!
What I have learned is that this can sometimes be an issue of focus. Let me show you what I mean.
Have a look around the room you are in. Or, wherever you are sitting just start to become aware of the colour green. Focus on green. There might be different shades – that’s great. Just find everything green in the room and memorise its location, shape or function. Spend about a minute doing this.
Don’t read ahead until you’ve taken this first step.
Ok, once you’re done, close your eyes and map these areas out in your head. Remember where they are and what they look like. Try to just remember the items instead of looking around more.
Now, once you’ve got a clear picture of all the green objects in the room, shut your eyes again and tell me everything that is the colour RED.
Hard to do eh?
What you have just experienced is having a singular focus. When our brain is focussing on one area it’s very difficult for it to take notice of anything else. This is exacerbated if we have a particular emotion or interpretation attached to this focus.
Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be writing a bit about what causes us to get stuck in these patterns of focus, interpretation and emotion.
In the meantime, I’d encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself, “Is there currently an area in my life that leaves me feeling a certain way?” “Are there certain recurrent feelings or behaviours that I attach to this area?”
Try and apply the simple exercise above to whatever it is you’re thinking about. “If the way I’ve been thinking about this ‘thing’ is all a shade of the colour green, what would it be like if I looked at this in a different way? A different colour? A different perspective or viewpoint? Even a different position?”
The way we focus has the potential to cause us a huge amount of pain or joy in our lives. Our focus is driven by our internal beliefs, our world view, our value systems, our cultural or religious norms; and more! It's one of those areas that the deeper we go, the more there is to learn and understand. I guess what I'd like you to ponder for this week is that there are reasons why we think and act and feel the way we do. There are reasons why we focus on certain things and interpret life in certain ways. The more self-knowledge we can gain in this area, the more we are able to live intentionally rather than reactively. This journey to deeper self-awareness is a journey of a whole lifetime. I certainly can't claim that my ramblings of the next couple of weeks will help you conclusively sort your life and the problems of the universe! But it'll hopefully help you on the journey that you're already on.
Let's see where we go from here.......!