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Recovery and Rehabilitation

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The missing link...

Dear John and Carla and everyone in the forum,

I have been helped so much by this forum-space, and having the ability to voice my questions/issues has been invaluable, especially because so often we think we have things right in our heads, but actually when we attempt to say it "out loud" we realize it wasn't quite right. Not to mention the fact that others' perspectives can steer us on the right course. I also really appreciate that the forum moderators steer the conversation here to a meaningful place, avoiding extraneous and distracting side conversations. I have donated to the forum both singly and monthly, and I encourage everyone else to do so. I could make the case solely on the fact that the things I don't spend money on now, since I've done the looking, far outweigh the cost of sending a donation to the forum.

I do have a lingering thought that I hope could be addressed at some point. I understand that the purpose of "self-directed attention" is to help me move thoughts from one place to another. But for me there's a missing link in the logic. I think I've actually got self-directed attention down pretty well now. But then the thought comes in...what am I supposed to attend to? From watching John's videos, I've gathered that his advice is that it's just whatever is going on in the moment...life...doing the dishes...etc. But part of me rebels against that in the sense that there are an infinite number of things I could attend to in any moment, and how do I know what's right? Plus, I have a big rebelliousness since childhood against "doing the dishes", lol! I guess what I'm asking is, even if I have the power to direct my attention, how do I guide it??

With great respect and gratitude,

Dina

If I go skateboarding, the only thing I need to attend to is my balance and the visual aspect of riding my board. If I play the guitar, all I need to do is concentrate on the chords I'm playing and the melody I am searching for in my head. It's the same when you do the dishes, or take a walk, or are driving.

You might have thoughts come to you when you do the dishes, about how tomorrow is going to be really hard or maybe an analyst on something 'bad' that happened yesterday. These thoughts are unnecessary to attend to and come from 'the fear'. So, in that moment you can either put your attention back to the feel of your hands washing the dishes or to the sensation of your feet (one I find helpful), or to your breath. Then you have moved attention away from those neurotic, suffering thoughts, to something which is neutral and 'in the moment'.

The idea that there is a right thing to put attention on is another fearful thought, as there isn't any right thing' we should be doing or attending to.

I hope this helps.

I am also starting to practice the movement of attention exercises.

Enjoy smily

delmogazi

I do have a lingering thought that I hope could be addressed at some point. I understand that the purpose of "self-directed attention" is to help me move thoughts from one place to another. But for me there's a missing link in the logic. I think I've actually got self-directed attention down pretty well now. But then the thought comes in...what am I supposed to attend to? From watching John's videos, I've gathered that his advice is that it's just whatever is going on in the moment...life...doing the dishes...etc. But part of me rebels against that in the sense that there are an infinite number of things I could attend to in any moment, and how do I know what's right? Plus, I have a big rebelliousness since childhood against "doing the dishes", lol! I guess what I'm asking is, even if I have the power to direct my attention, how do I guide it??

Actually the purpose of the self-directed attention exercise has nothing to do with moving thoughts. The sole purpose of the exercise is to gain supple control over your own attention.

If you are still having trouble with the exercise and are unable to get to the count of ten reliably, you should do nothing with the thoughts that have hijacked your control, no matter whether they are worthwhile or worthless. Instead, every time you find yourself distracted, merely move your attention away from ALL thoughts and back to the sensation of the breath in your nostrils, and start counting again from 1.

On the other hand, if you have gained reliable control over your attention, with steady practice you will learn to recognize the worth or worthlessness of the individual thought forms present in your mind. The thoughts you decline to attend to will die of starvation and fall away on their own; those you deliberately feed with your attention will flourish and evolve to give more depth and detail to your understanding.

Your skill in declining to give attention to the worthless thoughts will increase over time and this will hasten their demise. And you will learn to make the most of the thought forms that are sane and self-reliant.

And when you understand the practice clearly you will see that it is all much simpler than it seems.

John,

This is really helpful. I'm getting from the message above that it's not so much about putting attention on something or other, but taking attention off something unnecessary. I do find that I can get to 10 in the exercise most of the time, so I'll see if I can notice the worthless thoughts and decline to attend to them.

Dear Forum,

I continue to work through this process, so please forgive me for whatever I express here...I'm still struggling with the idea that I should focus on "doing the dishes" (meaning any number of things that arise in the present moment which need immediate attention) versus paying attention to world affairs (very loudly calling our attention at the moment). John, you have yourself expressed being dismayed at the state of the world. How can I not pay attention to this stuff?

With all due respect and gratitude,

Dina

Dina,

The simple answer is that you cannot help but pay attention to the sorry state of human affairs in our time. Nor is there any reason to turn away from the facts of our current descent into madness, murder, and torture.

But neither is there any reason to permit your attention to be pulled to the fear-driven drumbeat of misery, hopelessness, and the sense of helplessness that comes to a mind still under the effects of the fear. That is true of everyone's mind, especially when still recovering from the damage it suffered during a lifetime under the constant bombardment of fear's message of helplessness.

It seems to me that our only hope is to go sane. And so far as I can tell, this method is"”at least for now"”the only road out of the fear-driven madness that afflicts all humanity.

So, heal yourself first by clearing your mind with the Self-Directed Attention method. Strive to gain skill and suppleness in your control over your own mind and, if you can, help us all by actively participating in the work to bring this hope to the world.

This method requires nothing but to be tried once in a mind damaged by fear. We have good reason to believe that merely hearing the suggestion to look at yourself in the manner we advise is all that's needed to set that mind on the path to sanity and away from fear.

Let me know if this helps.

You might also consider this: https://www.justonelook.org/natural/2015/10/whos-to-blame/.

John

 

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