Where we direct our attention determines our predominant thoughts and, ultimately, what our experiences will be. One of the great blessings of having a human incarnation is choosing where we place our attention. This power can help us successfully navigate challenging life experiences when consciously exercising that choice.
As I thought about recent events, I highlighted the consequences of choosing where we place our attention. The first was when a gunman fired a high-powered rifle onto an unsuspecting crowd attending a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The second occurred a week earlier in Akron, Ohio, when 25-year-old Jayland Walker was killed in a hail of bullets fired by eight police officers while he was running away.
Despite the fact such tragedies were not first-time events – there have been more than I care to recount - I was particularly disturbed for some reason. I put myself in a temporary mental frenzy over them. I realized I was focusing my energy on what was wrong and who to blame. I was creating a story and a meaning for what happened that was more disempowering than helpful.
Then a moment came in which I asked myself different questions geared toward finding solutions. Those changed questions transformed my experience. I felt a little lighter, uplifted, and hopeful. A story about the Dalai Lama that demonstrates how we direct our inner thoughts can work wonders in seemingly significant and tragic matters.
His Holiness was before a group of Western reporters when he was asked, "I notice that you have this countenance of joy even though your people in Tibet have gone through and continue to go through horrendous atrocities at the hands of the Chinese government. How can you maintain such joy, and more importantly, why can't we in the West, who have so much, have the joy you have?" The Dalai Lama responded by saying, “Wrong Mantra!"
He suggested to the reporter that what you focus on and allow to pass through your awareness regularly is the negativity you are experiencing in the world. As a result, you say to yourself: "Life is hard. There is not enough to go around. There is not enough love or not enough jobs. It's impossible. It's incurable. The world is terrible”. He told the reporter that what you give attention to, think, and speak about is a "wrong mantra."
The Dalai Lama was serving as a reminder that we want to lift our attention and awareness so that what we are constantly saying to ourselves is the truth of our being. Divine solutions, as well as the power and presence of God, are everywhere. And therefore, it must be where we are.
We want to practice the Dalai Lama's way of being with such conviction we plant a seed in our subjective or subconscious mind, and it begins to grow. We then find that we no longer react to circumstances or situations but respond from a deep eternal place within us.
When we respond from that place, we will look back to an experience that was not to our liking and realize we acted differently. Instead of being upset, blaming, or accusatory, we discovered something else had taken over. We've moved into prayer or meditation or got an insight that helped us respond in a higher way, and to take action that leads to lasting solutions.
Such is the power of taking control of what we say to ourselves, and where we decide to place our attention.
Peace and Blessings,