The Power of Attention

The Power of Attention5

There’s a misconception associated with the Law of Attraction, which may be expressed thus: When I get this, or achieve that, I will be happy. Due to this common and ill-conceived belief, many individuals spend their entire life striving to reach goals which–if and when achieved–bring little more than momentary happiness. And when such occurs, most dreamers automatically reach for an even grander goal, in the futile hope that it will bring the happiness they seek. The mistake? Believing that a thing, position, achievement, or even a person can yield joy which, by its very nature, must come from within. First.

How, then, can we experience the joy we desire? Does this not–especially for individuals who’ve blindly accepted the fallacy–seem a hopeless situation. If things and people and status and achievement cannot yield the happiness we desire, what can? The true answer: our deepest nature, which is joy itself. There, in the transcendent beauty of our soul, we may know firsthand the joy that is already ours. If it has eluded us thus far, it’s only because we’ve been searching in the wrong direction–outward instead of inward. Toward this truth, I offer a quote by Jose Orgega y Gasset (1883 – 1955) for contemplation: Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.

What, though, do we mean by attention?  We may think of attention as a flashlight that we may direct. Through it, we’re able to shine the light of our individuated consciousness in whatever direction we desire. We may shine it here–to a world of war, famine, politics gone wrong, and crimes against humanity; or we may shine it there–on love, on family, on friends, on food in our belly and a roof over our head. What an amazing power we possess! In any given moment, we may direct our attention to that which we choose. If we live consciously, the choice is ours: kindness, compassion, and love; or meanness, indifference, and hatred.

Does this mean we must toss aside our dreams and leave them behind in the dust? Not at all. We may still proceed with our dreams–the new house or car, the great career, world travel, the loving relationship–but with a wise approach. The problem of dissatisfaction only arises when we mistake our dreams as the source of our happiness–not a complement to it! When we live the wiser way, we’re going to discover a mysterious paradox: It’s when we’re most joyful within that we manifest most successfully without. What, though, if we can’t sense that inner joy? What then?

There is good news: Our joy is neither a million dollars away, nor the highest mountain climbed away. It’s neither a mansion away, nor a perfect lover away. It’s not a sports car away, a rich stock portfolio away, or a great travel destination away. It’s here–in this very moment–today! And the key that will help unlock this truth now? Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude! By centering our mind in the peace of the present moment, we may be surprised at what we discover. With the aim of discovering our inner joy, please contemplate the following list with a grateful heart:

  • A breath exhaled slowly, followed by the miracle of another breath inhaled.
  • The warmth of summer sun on our back.
  • A hug from–or given to–a loved one; or the memory of such.
  • That first sip of coffee in the morning, be it brewed or instant.
  • A barefoot walk across carpet or a sandy beach.
  • Bread and butter, for what it signifies: We have food.
  • Eyes closed, and then opened to reveal the miracle of sight.
  • The smell of crisp clean air.
  • Beethoven’s glorious “Ode to Joy,” or even more sublime, the words “I love you.”
  • A drink of cool water…and thirst quenched.

The doorway to our transcendent state of joy cannot be found in the future; it cannot be entered tomorrow or next week or next year. The threshold to our joy can only be crossed in the ever-present, eternal, now. No two alike, these moments come but once, bearing gifts both big and small. The only question asked of us is this: Will we receive them by using our power of attention wisely?

Dare to dream.

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2017 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. To view my ebook entitled Hold That Thought, please press here.

“Thank You” & Note to Publishers

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