What occupies your thoughts most of the time? Do you know where you are going with these thoughts? Or are you looking in all directions for some sign from outside yourself to tell you what is going on?
We live in a world changed by the discovery of quantum physics, that is, by the realization that our individual consciousness exists before anything else can come into being. Indeed, it is our own consciousness that drives our actions to manifest our material reality. What we think becomes real.
Three forms of consciousness exist in us: There is our everyday alert thinking process, there is our subconscious mind, and there is the deep, ineffable consciousness that is God — All That Is, embedded in and directing the vast, mysterious, extraordinary universe of which we are a part, and beyond.
We give attention to each form in very different ways.
You know your everyday thoughts, the ones that pull and push at you. You know how to focus on a task at hand, or how to multi-task if you need to. You know what you spend too much time doing, whether that is using your cell phone or procrastinating or dwelling on negative thoughts. You also know the times when you experience love and joy and beauty all around you and give your attention there. But have you realized that you have actually, always, chosen the thoughts and feelings you have?
You indeed choose your everyday conscious state of mind every moment. You also choose how long or how brief a period you spend on any thought, according to what apparently motivates you in practical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ways. Most often, however, you are unaware of what is really motivating you. Becoming aware of this can alter where you give your attention.
The subconscious mind holds the answers. Cognitive neuroscientists have demonstrated that the subconscious mind controls 95% of our thoughts — meaning we are unaware of 95% of what is going on in us, in our minds, driving our behavior. A familiar way to describe and explain this is to ask yourself why you are doing or thinking something, anything at all. There is a quick surface answer that comes to mind, yes, but is it the whole story?
Not by a long shot. Try this exercise — write down a thought you have and why you have it. Ask (and write down) why you answered the way you did. Now ask why you answered the way you did the second time and repeat the process, writing down why you answered the way you did each time. When you have no more answers, you are probably very close to knowing the true reason you had the thought in the first place — you have gone into your subconscious to find out, and in the process of doing that, you are able to see beneath the everyday protective camouflage of your surface thoughts into the truth. This can often cause a shift in you that changes some aspect of your life in a positive way. Here is a short example of what I mean:
Thought: I am not good enough.
Why? I have not succeeded as I had hoped.
Why? Others were chosen over me at work.
Why? My boss doesn’t like me.
Why? I don’t always do what he wants.
Why? I hate my job.
Why? It isn’t what I wanted to do.
Why? I needed money so I took it, but I wanted to be a singer.
Why? Because that is where my heart is.
Why? Because that is who I really am.
The third state of consciousness is the ineffable awareness and union with God. In this state, everything is answered. It is reached sometimes in meditation, or during peak moments in life, epiphanies, wherein for a split second, or sometimes longer, we sense the absolute power of God, aware we are not separate from the Love that is God. Sometimes, if and when we are willing, we know this state. Most often it happens in Nature, or in hearing an exquisite passage from a piece of music, or watching the joyful play of a child. We know when it happens, for it feels for a moment in our heart as if we have come home.
What becomes apparent when you focus on where you give your attention is that the quality of your life is shaped by this. If you feel resentment and stay in that feeling, everything you do is compromised by that state. If you feel anger but decide it is not serving you, you release it harmlessly and your sense of emotional balance is restored. If you wallow in sadness, it colors all thoughts you have and affects everyone around you. If you wake up glad to be here, feeling present in each moment, and rejoicing in the day, that is what you bring to life and share with everyone around you.
No one else can decide your inner state of mind. Just you. And what you give your attention to determines how well you choose to live.
So — what does receive your attention?