Problem-Solving Allies: Attention and Intention

by Nick Smith –

Let’s look at attention first. Our attention is the one thing we have complete dominion over. Although we’re probably not consciously aware of it, we are moment to moment choosing what we give our attention to and what we ignore. 
 This is the principle: whatever we focus on expands in our life and it does so to the exclusion of everything else.
Attention cannot multitask. It can quickly flit back and forth from one thing to another to give the illusion of multitasking but in reality it can never be in two places at the same time. Try it and see. This is why we don’t need to try to still the mind or rid ourselves of limited self-concepts. When we feed our true Self with our attention we are withdrawing attention from our little, limited self. Without the support and nourishment of our attention our limited thought system simply withers away on its own. 
I think Buckminster Fuller nailed it quite succinctly when he said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” and perhaps Mother Theresa knew it intuitively too, – when asked to march against the war in Vietnam, she replied, “No, I won’t but when you have a march for peace, I’ll be there.
This is the same reason why we find we find it so hard to break habits and resolve many of the big problems in our lives. When we focus on solving a problem our attention is on the problem and then that attention just perpetuates the problem. This is what happens when we try to stop smoking, get out of debt or lose weight – we focus on the weight problem and then just get frustrated as hell at how difficult it seems to be to keep the weight off.
Have you ever wondered why as soon as you want to break a habit the temptations seem to suddenly multiply? We tell ourselves we need to find a better diet or need to try harder or have more discipline, all the while oblivious to the fact that we are feeding the problem by focusing on it. The ones that find it easy are those that see themselves as they want to be and feed that vision with their attention instead. Then, any diet would work. 
 It seems to me that once we start to apply and teach these principles we could quite easily prevent all the lifestyle diseases that seem to be so prevalent and flourishing at this time. So, instead of ‘trying’ to get into flow and instead of battling with our doubts and habitual thinking patterns, when we simply choose to give our attention to our true Self, this is what grows in our awareness. The rest just falls away.
Now we’ll turn our attention to our other ally, intention.
Our intent is the great power that each and every one of us has and yet we are mostly unaware of it. Our ‘limited self’ thought system would have us believe that to achieve anything we need to expend energy, to try, to ‘work at it’; – over many millennia, we have so over-learnt this that we have virtually forgotten this power of our intent.
The difficulty most of us have with this is that it is so simple it is tempting to overlook it or dismiss it as trivial. Our ego’s insists there must be something else. Perhaps fearing its own extinction it always seems to wants to get in on the act and complicate things but by attempting more we withhold the little that is asked. 
It is the power of our intention and not our own effort that we need to trust. There isn’t anything mystical or ‘other worldy’ about this and it’s not something or someone outside ourselves that brings this awareness to us. It is simply our own ability to always know who we really Are.
Think back to the little exercise we did earlier where we stood back from the activity of our body and our thoughts and just watched them. By watching ourselves operating and perhaps floundering in the world we can become aware of our errant thoughts (grounded in beliefs in effort and limitation) and also what it is that’s doing the watching. We can simply give our attention to this Observer, with the sole intent of reclaiming our Essence and our Free Will; and trust this, our true Self to nourish us, lead the way and shine upon our lives.
Here is the principle: We can call upon the power of our intent to bring our True Self into our awareness
 We can choose this and trust that in choosing it is done, nothing more; and to experience the result of our choice we need only relax and feel the peace that envelopes us as we recognise our Self in this space. I am aware that this may sound a little too simplistic. Belief will come as we start to use it and witness the results.

You may think this all sounds well and good, but if you are anything like me then our everyday ‘thinking’ mind (call it ego if you like) sensing defeat, will either scream at you to get real or sneakily get in on the act. Typical commentary would be something along the lines off, “What the hell are you doing? You’re up to your neck in debt, you’ve not seen your kids since last Monday, the dog’s sick, you’ve promised that proposal by tomorrow morning, you haven’t slept for last 24 hours and your better half is threatening to walk out if you don’t get your s**t together soon. And you want to wander off into ga-ga land?!”

For many of us this is the crux of the matter. How can we relax and stop trying when all these things are going on? How can I stop thinking when I am up in court next week? How can I simply choose to be happy when my world is falling in around my ears? 
The answer lies in our recognition that letting our attention rest in our True Self, the feeling of Love that comes from within, is the one real and practical answer to all our problems; the awareness that in doing this we’re addressing the cause instead of struggling to apply bandages to the symptoms. It does takes trust in the beginning, ‘faith’ if you like.
I remember soon after I started on this road, asking my Self for a little help in knowing ‘what to do’ to resolve my pressing problems. The answer I received was that I didn’t need help, only a little reassurance. I guess I’ll never forget the words given me.

Anticipation plays no part at all for present trust guarantees a future undisturbed, without a trace of sorrow and joy that constantly increases, so just relax and enjoy this day. If you need a thought, a word or just a tranquil open mind then that will be my gift for I [true Self] am in charge by your request. 

What more could I have needed but this? Here is everything we need – the strength, the source of all understanding, love, health, creativity, flow, true vision, the answer to all our questions. 
This is Home, where our safety, comfort and power lie. There is nothing our true Self cannot do. It is not limited by the ‘laws’ of space or time or any material, economic, social or other law that we think we are beholden too. It is equal in its power to solve all problems because there is no order of difficulty in what this Creative Spark can do.
Our true Self sees nothing of our problems; it only sees our potential and how to make that potential manifest in our lives. This is it’s one and only agenda and because this is all it sees, when we allow it into our awareness, this is all that we create. When we recognize our Self as being the presence of Joy, we know that there are no problems that accompany it.
So here’s the thing: Our true Self is the answer to all our problems. Flow is the answer. When we think we have solved a problem there is always a sense of relief and perhaps a temporary elation but no matter how effective we are at solving problems there’ll always be an underlying uneasiness about when and what the next one lurking around the corner will be. 
We can never be truly joyful until we have the remedy to the cause of all our problems, until we can replace monkey mind with our genius, our true nature, this feeling of the loving life force that flows through us when step back and allow it.
Nevertheless, old habits die hard. It’s so easy to be tempted to try to fix things ourselves instead of stepping back and trusting our Self to take over. When this happens with me this is the no-brainer question I ask myself: “Would you rather have your ego handle this or our genius, would I rather try to deal with this on my own or harness the power and intelligence of the universe, the life force itself?” 
In spite of appearances this is our one and only choice – the choice for free will or to be led around by a thought system that’s grounded in an illusion of powerlessness and limitation.

excerpt from ‘Life 2.0: The Little Book of Flow’

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