I want to start part 4 of this series with a bullet list or highlighted summary of the past 3 articles;
*Finding Your “How To” refers to anything that you decide you need or want to change or transform in your life, in a personal and individualized way.
* This transformational process of “How To” is often much easier said than done.
*Discovering and accepting the truths about ourselves or within ourselves is a crucial piece of the transformation process.
* These truths may seem relatively obvious or may lay buried deep within layers of historical experiential based thinking and neurological “imprinting” or conditioning.
* Accepting the entirety of our humanity, strengths and weakness requires a perspective of courageous forbearance, in which we step into the possibilities of spacious forgiveness of ourselves and for others in our lives.
(a quick formatting note, please note that the Five A’s will be broken down into 5 sub articles underneath Part 4 of this series) Attention, Awareness, Acceptance, Attitude and Action.
The Three A’s Vital to Transformation:
Attention- one working definition of attention might be- the resources that we allocate to wards any specific environmental (external or internal) object(s) (subjects, issues, people, situations), at the relative exclusion of others.
Paying attention-indicates that there is a cost associated with the practice or act of attention. What does attention cost us? Our time? Our mental and perhaps emotional resources? What else can you think of that might be a price for “paying attention?”
Notice the last part of the above mentioned working definition- at the relative exclusion of others. Other what? Other things, other people, other issues?
So perhaps we could say that one of the chief prices of “paying attention” is that it requires the exclusion or omission of attention to other things holding a relative(subordinate position in our lives to what is most important to us)
The Quantitative Aspect of Attention- Wikopdedia says that “ Focused attention is a short-term response to a stimulus that attracts attention. The attention span for this level is very brief, with a maximum span, without any lapse at all, that may be as short as 8 seconds” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_span)
The article goes on to talk about a sustained attention that can last up to about 20 minutes in healthy teens and adults, without having to re-focus.
Factor in that we now live in an age of electronically oriented fast (rapid)-this and multi(task)-that and you have a nearly endless list of possible ways for us to be distracted, at any given time.
I think it is easy to see how we are constantly challenged to prioritize what we “pay” attention to. After all there are only so many hours of time in a day we can give to “paying” attention, right?
The Qualitative Aspect of Attention- As I am writing this article there are many things going on in my immediate environment. My mother in law is doing the dishes and helping out with our son. Our son is helping do the dishes (he is only 3). The big screen plasma TV is on. The dishes are making noise, the TV is making noise and my mind is working. I was just (distracted or reminded internally) that I need to go pay my wife’s school bill and get some groceries. I also noticed that I need to shave and take a shower. The dog just ran by and the cat is whining to get out. Wow, how in the world am I to “pay” or afford the quality of attention that is required to write at least a moderately insightful and intelligent article. Very good question:)
So, we can all probably relate to the challenges that we have on a day to day basis managing our attention resources, but Scott what in the world does this have to do with transformation or making changes in our lives?
First let me delve into the world of quantum theory for a moment. One of the ideas surrounding the quantum world is that the observer (you or me)…….
can actually change the form or at least the appearance of energy fields in the greater (unified field) of all energy, by merely observing it. Which means what? At a minimum it means, that the way we observe something, the perspective from which we see something, the amount and quality of attention we pay to it, changes what it is to us.
Hence the idea that 10 different people viewing “the same” object (field of energy) from 10 different vantage points in space could see or “pay” attention to 10 different versions or aspects of the same object.
OK all this quantum stuff can get a bit hard to wrap your mind around, so let me try to bring this into a practical application involving transformation. I will use a personal circumstance to illustrate the point.
This morning during my reflective meditation (prayer) session, I shifted my attention back to the previous days events, because frankly I was so distracted yesterday, I did not “pay” the amount or quality of attention to a major issue that required my attention. Namely, my relationship with my son and my role as his father. Specifically, how I deal with him in the areas of discipline and instruction.
This personal illustration will highlight the vital role that attention plays in the transformation process. (Finding my “How To”)
Address a major challenge that paying attention to our “real” beliefs, thoughts and behavior poses.
How paying attention to what really is, opens the door way to massive possibilities for change.
What I realized was that I was being to harsh on my son in regards to how I disciplined him.
OK herein is the major challenge to me actually transforming in this area. At some level inside me, I don’t want to have to pay attention to the truth!; the truth that I “lost my temper” or the truth that I raised my voice with my son, or that I vented my accumulated frustration and feelings of tiredness on him. My initial response is to not pay attention to anything that brings up past negative or “bad” memories. Herein is the rub.
The memories are there, whether I pay attention to them or not! Why is this important or why does this matter?
Because these memories affect what I pay attention to and how I pay attention to it. (I see things based on how I remember them to be) or I interpret a “new” situation based on a past similar experience.
These perceptions help form my thoughts. My thoughts trigger signals to my neural network; which release chemicals (peptides) that bind to the receptors sites in my cells and wallah! I feel a certain way. I have an emotion and then I act based on that emotion.
In the case of how I view my son and his behavior, I have within me the potential to activate a pre-conditioned sequence of physiological, chemical and emotional events based on a neurological blueprint created long ago by my memories and past experiences.
So what to do about this? For me it has to start with paying attention to and gaining understanding about the Big Whys. The why I view my son’s behavior through a filter of past experience. Some may say that you don’t need to pay attention to the undesired behavior in order to change it. I respectfully beg to differ and I submit that it is by paying attention to the pre-written scripts that run in our neural network (mind-body), that we open the door to re-writing them. without paying attention to what it is or why it is there then how can we know how to change it?
I do not claim to be a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) expert, nor am I a qualified psychologist (therapist), yet I think that many therapists would say that we have to get to the root of what drives us to behave the way we do. We can’t just overlay “new programming” over a deeply impressed and complicated network. We have to bring into the light of our own attention the real, true operations of who and what we are. This attention opens up the possibility for radical change by exploding our awareness freely into new realms of perception and vision.
Please stay tuned for part 4 Finding Your Own “How To”, The Three A’s vital to Transformation-Awareness
Standing Strong in Transformation