Recently I was watching an educational video called Seeing Red Cars. It was very good food for thought. [The link to Focus, is once you have bought a red car, you see them everywhere]. The message was, we get more of what we focus on. The narrator went on to say that if you ask people what they want, they rarely tell you. Why? Because people become so ‘flooded’ by what they don’t want, they find it hard to step out and up to see what they do want. And ‘flooded’ is an apt word because the feeling can really pervade us and even block our vision, literally.
However, to say ‘focus on what we do want’ is far easier said than done. One of the things that makes it hard is our expectations of ourselves. We like to think we’re optimistic and upbeat people, especially in New Zealand. The colloquialisms, ‘get over it’ and to get even more personal ‘get over yourself,’ come to mind. Rarely do I hear someone say about themselves that they are a ‘glass half empty’ person, although I hear it said about others frequently. [There’s something not quite right with this equation].
To be able to transition into this desired state of possibility, what can we do? What works as a solution will be unique for each of us.
To get there, we can:
- Accept that our pessimistic low state of mind is ‘how it is.’ Paradoxically, with acceptance comes the freedom of thought to move forward. This is big and not to be rushed over. Phrases like ‘no one listens to what I say’; ‘things didn’t used to be this way,’ ‘it shouldn’t be this way’ are signs of not accepting the current state.
- Be kind to ourselves. This is a step on from acceptance, in that the mind says ‘this is how it is, and that’s O.K.’
- Appreciate this low state. Sydney Banks, the father of the philosophy of The Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, calls this mind state ‘low tide’ and the appreciation of it by us as ‘low tide consciousness.’ When you go along the beach at low tide, you see rocks, shells and boat hulls. These are things that you don’t appreciate when the tide is in [i.e. ‘high tide’]. This understanding helps us navigate safely and elegantly during times of high tide. One state – ‘low tide’ or ‘high tide’ – is not better than the other, it is just different and part of the journey.
- Think about when you have been in a state of ‘high tide’ and how you ended up there. It wasn’t ‘luck’ and even if it was, you can learn from that state by distilling the aspects of it that could be transferred to other situations.
- Make a list of things that you are grateful for in your life. Doing this puts things in perspective.
- Practise gratitude. The more you say ‘thanks,’ the more you’ll notice goodness all around you [like ‘seeing red cars’]. You’ll find yourself feeling inspired by others’ goodness and random acts of kindness.
Each of us is unique, and that in itself is something to be grateful for. Becoming aware that our state of mind influences ‘what we see,’ in itself is a valuable aid to focus us. With that focus we are then better able to create what we want and / or see and seize the opportunities.