We Become What We Think – June 16, 20113 Meditation

Print Friendly

We Become What We Think

There are many reasons why we don’t always get what we want. One of these reasons is because we focus on the opposite of what we want. Sometimes, we just can’t help it. But, if we are conscious of our thoughts, we can intercept these thoughts and shift our frame of mind towards our desired goals.

Have you ever been particularly annoyed by a person or situation? The more we complain about it, the more we notice it. The more we notice it, the worse it becomes. The next time we interact with that person or situation, we almost expect to be annoyed and thus subconsciously look for those small triggers that’ll make us annoyed. We place ourselves into a vicious circle.

Whether we focus on things we want or do not want, the truth is that what we focus on expands. Dreams do come true, for the sole reason that the more you focus on something, the more of it you’ll notice and you’ll be particularly sensitive to opportunities that’ll come your way which will allow your dreams to become your reality. Try It For Yourself! A Simple Exercise

1. Next time you are walking or driving somewhere, or sitting on the bus or a car. Remember to do this.
2. Pick a color and focus on it. Look for that color in your field of vision as you’re moving about. For example, focus on the color red.
3. Do this for several minutes. Do you notice this color in so many places?
4. Pick another color and focus on it. Forget about the first color, just focus on the second. For example, try the color green.
5. Continue for several minutes. Scan your surroundings. Do you suddenly notice your second color popping up everywhere?
6. Repeat several times using different colors each time.

So, how can we put this into practice? There are many situations where we can benefit by putting our power of focus into practice. The following are some practical suggestions.

Annoying People – It’s inevitable that we will interact with people who frustrate us. Instead of focusing on why they are frustrating us, or the feelings of frustration, focus on things we admire about them. It might take some practice, but start it the next time you are in their presence. Look for things you like about them and what you admire about them. Perhaps they have nice shoes, or a nice smile, or their work ethic is admirable. Focus on that and look for more to focus on.

Frustrating Situations – When situations do not favor our expectations, it can be super frustrating. But, the more we think about how annoyed we are, the more red-eyed and anger-consumed we become, which is not helping the situation or your health. Focus on the positives of a situation. Make an effort to pick them out. I know this can be tough to do, but just start. Look for things that you learned or enjoyed about the situation.

‘I Hate My Job’ – We have all heard this from many people and have probably repeated it ourselves. The result is always the same: as we find more reasons to dislike the job, we feel even more discontent. In these moments, we have a tendency to forget just how lucky and privileged we are to have such a job. Our focus on the pain puts into a negative downward spiral. Start to pick out and focus on things we enjoy about our job and all the wonderful opportunities we are afforded through it. Create a list of personal benefits from the job, and then focus on each point. For example: financial security, time flexibility, creative expression, feeling of empowerment when completing a project, inspirational co-workers, learning opportunities, chances to help others, health insurance, stock options, etc.

‘I don’t have enough time for…” – Have you heard of yourself start a sentence like this? And then waste time on unproductive tasks like browsing the web, chatting with a friend, writing verbose emails, channel surfing on the TV. I’ve been there! You and I both know it is an excuse to avoid doing something we don’t want to do. (*wink*) If something was important enough, we can create time to make it happen. Instead of saying “I don’t have enough time for X” and then brushing it off, practice saying “How can I create time to do X?” “How can I make this a reality? How can I free some time from my schedule?”

Fear of Failure – The more we focus on the object of our fear, the more powerful the feeling is. Life rarely turns out as bad as we anticipate. Focusing on the worst possible outcome is extremely stressful. Whether it’s asking someone out on a date, or giving a presentation to an audience, it does not help to tell yourself that “I’m afraid I’m going to fail” or “What if I’ll look stupid? I might as well not try.” Instead, focus on what it is that you do want. Focus on repeating what you want in a present tense statement.

Begin noticing which way your thoughts trend. Do they trend to the positive as easily as they do to the negative?

About Ryusho Shonin

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.
This entry was posted in Basics, by Ryusho 龍昇, Dharma Talks, Good Things, mindfulness. Bookmark the permalink.