Whenever we are awake, we are aware…right? Not necessarily. What about the time you misplaced your keys and you ran around frantically trying to find them? Or the time you arrived at an event, but were completely unaware of actually driving there? Or—even more disturbing—snapped at a loved one for no apparent reason? We’ve all done it.
The truth is that there so much that goes on within us that we are not aware of. There are thoughts, emotions and reactions that run contrary to what we claim we want. These “negative” thoughts seem to run the show. The result is that we are not as creative, happy, passionate or satisfied as we feel we could be.
The trouble is that thoughts come and go so quickly that it’s seems impossible to notice them, but with awareness and an attitude of self-compassion, we can begin to recognize when we are thinking negative thoughts and transform them to more positive ones.
Perhaps you’ve heard this story before, but it’s worthwhile telling again.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
“The other,” he continued, “Is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
How do you feed the wolf? By giving it your focus of attention. Awareness is not the same as attention. Imagine that awareness is like a bulb that sheds light over a wide range. Now imagine a flashlight. Attention is the focus which narrows the beam to a smaller area.
Take a moment to reflect on which wolf you’ve been feeding. Where have you chosen to put your attention? Do you have your attention on thoughts that generate feelings of being deprived, inadequate and helpless? Or, do you think of yourself as successful, prosperous and powerful? Remember that your every thought is shaping who you are.
The most immediate way to increase prosperity, success and personal power in your life is to improve your thinking – and then put your attention on the new more beneficial thoughts.