Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Course Note #149: Shift attention-focus

In the last few weeks I have felt the inspiration to teach from my personal journals, and so on this blog I will share a few things that came up in this session.

            At one point during the week I was prompted to The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament  (NTI) and read the following from NTI Colossians, chapter 4:

“What does your mind report to you when you watch your brothers, listen to them or think of them?  Be careful.  What your mind reports as it thinks of them is a trick.  Your mind is distracting you from watching the mind in the way you intend to.  Remember that everything you think as you watch your brother, listen to him or think of him is a thought within your mind that must be watched by you.

“Look at your thoughts about your brother.  What is it that you are desiring by allowing those thoughts within the mind?  What is it that you are asking for through the flow of creation that is you?”

            Maybe you’ve had thoughts today about a brother: mother, father, sister, acquaintance, friend or lover.  Don’t look at these thoughts with the ego, and you’ll know if you are doing that if you feel judgment toward yourself or others.  Spirit Within says: Be Watchful with Me.

            The key in this section of NTI, for me anyway, comes through this sentence: “What is it that you are desiring by allowing those thoughts within the mind?”  This is where we can go deeper. 

Perhaps I am thinking about:

            -  what someone thinks of me, and these thoughts cause me to feel guilty; then what I am desiring  by holding onto those thoughts, is to see myself as guilty.

            -  what someone is writing about me on the internet, and these thoughts cause me to want to defend myself; then what I am desiring is to see myself as attacked.

            -  what someone has done to me in the past, and that I’m justified in feeling the way I feel about them…then I am desiring to see myself as victimized, unfairly treated, angry… 

            As I watch these thoughts with the Spirit of Truth, I see how I have used my brothers to hold onto feelings of guilt, unworthiness, limitation, and victimization.  I did not know that I was desiring this but now I do, and so as I recognize that I no longer want this, I shift attention-focus to what I do want: Know thy Self. 

            To know the True Self, I must practice shifting attention-focus from that which Self is not.  The self that desires to know itself as fearful, guilty or unworthy is not what I am.

            Here I was prompted to quote #101 in my 7steps journal:  This quote, attributed to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj says:

            “To see reality is as simple as to see one’s face in a mirror.  Only the mirror must be clear and true.  A quiet mind, undistorted by desires and fears, free from ideas and opinions, clear on all levels, is needed to reflect reality.”

            Reality-Self is here right now; only I cannot see it through the lens of fear, false desire, guilt and opinion.  The task before me is to continue cleaning the mirror, and I do this as practice shifting attention-focus from the thoughts in the mind to my true desire – what I really want.

            This idea of shifting attention-focus is something that I have found very helpful especially in regard to teachings that say the world, this body, etc. is not real.  We can read such teachings and intellectually understand them, but in order to heal we must be honest with ourselves.  We do identify with the body, and that’s why many of us are so obsessed with it in one way or another.  Most of us identify with being at the effect of the things of this world. 

            Let’s use money as an example because many identify with this one: Let’s say that you are feeling fear in regard to money.  You can notice that you feel fear, and then as you look at the thoughts in the mind, you see that your attention is on lack.  What is it that you are desiring by holding onto such thoughts? 

I am desiring to see myself as unworthy, less than and limited.  I am desiring to see myself as apart from God, as apart from Love.

            I can decide to shift attention-focus.  Currently I do this by use of a mantra.  I am that I am.  I am as God.  As I rest in the silence, in this full space, I notice that there is not a sense of lack, limitation, guilt or unworthiness until…I go Back to the thoughts of OMG, what if I don’t have enough money!

            We can use a practice to shift our focus and then immediately return to a focus on the world-problem.  That’s okay.  Gently shift attention-focus back to what you really want.

            Next I was prompted to quote #99 with is also attributed to Maharaj:
“Mere listening, even memorizing, is not enough.  If you do not struggle hard [be devoted] to apply every word of it in your daily life, don’t complain that you made no progress.”

It’s true.  Progress comes through vigilant, devoted practice, and I see this as the key to freedom.  I may not be able to practice this stuff 24/7, but I am able to practice enough that for the most part I am living a fairly peaceful and enjoyable life.  This is because I don’t want to hold onto ego thoughts, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have them, but I want to know myself as healed and so I do not want to hold onto them. 
It seems to me that what occurs as time goes on is that there is a much shorter lag time between the ego/divisive thoughts popping into my mind, and my willingness to let them go.

RDA says in commentary to #99 that we have habitual ways of thinking and perceiving and that these “old ego-maintenance habits must be dropped if ego is to be undone.”  In another quote she speaks of “ego-feasting activities” – Love it!

I have frequented a particular internet spiritual discussion list that I have felt prompted to leave for quite awhile.  As I was working with this quote this past week I saw loud and clear that this particular pastime serves only to feed and maintain the ego! I received the guidance to: Drop it now!  And so I did.

Devotion is the antithesis of ego-feasting activities. 

I’ll end with a “Thought of Awakening”*

~ 310 ~

Devotion is an act of silence.
It is a decision
to stop the flow of thoughts
and return to the wisdom of stillness.

Thoughts shall start again,
and your attention will drift to them
if you are interested.

But if you are also interested in devotion,
you can again make the decision
to return to the Heart.

In this decision,
thoughts are not fed.
That which is not fed
must eventually die.

~From our Holy Spirit

The audio was recorded to an internet audience on 5-13-12 and is 54 min.


* These can be found, as well as info about RDA’s 7steps journal at: http://www.reginadawnakers.com

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