Have you ever wondered why you always attract what you don’t want? Is it because you were naughty in a past life? Karma or Fate? I used to ask myself why bad things always happened to me, still do sometimes but since I have become more aware of my actions and started to focus my attention on my goals, on what I do want rather than what I don’t, things have become a lot better.
There is an old Indian story about a traveller who felt weary from walking in the midday sun and so he decided to rest under a tree, he didn’t realise it but this tree was a special tree that could grant wishes. After a while of sitting under the tree he started to feel thirsty and he said to himself, “I feel so thirsty from all this walking, I wish I could have a nice cool refreshing drink” and there beside him appeared a glass full of liquid with beads of condensation running down the sides. He picked up the glass, took a sip and found the glass contained the most refreshing liquid he had ever tasted.
As he was enjoying the drink he thought to himself, “this drink is so lovely, I wish I had some food to go with it” all around him a great feast appeared after eating all the delicious food he began to feel sleepy, “it would be wonderful to have a comfy bed to lay down on” he said and a great big comfy bed appeared.
He laid on the bed and as he dozed he started to wonder how all the things he wished for had appeared, he realised there must be something special about the tree. “I wonder what will happen if I have a negative thought or dream about something bad like ghosts” he thought as he drifted deeper into sleep. As he slept he had a dream in which ghosts and demons appeared, the dream was so scary that he woke up and found himself surrounded by his fears.
The mind is like this tree and we can use it to attract more of what we do want or what we don’t want depending on where we focus our attention. In my last post, how your perception creates your reality I wrote about the reticular activating system (RAS) and how it sorts information to find what’s relevant to us.
We are being constantly bombarded with information from all our senses all of the time and if you were aware of all this information you would suffer sensory overload so the reticular activating system sorts information by what is relevant to you if you have a strong fear or dislike of something your RAS will sense your emotion and show you more of it. We have evolved to develop this skill because for much of human existence we lived in a dangerous world and needed to quickly identify threats.
Fear is a major emotion because it is integral to keeping us safe, when we are afraid our RAS goes into overdrive to find more information relevant to the threat.When we feel threatened we often get tunnel vision and everything we see reinforces our beliefs in the danger, this would be a beneficial feature if we were faced with an immediate threat such as a tiger or a lion, fear would mobilise us into making our escape and once the danger had passed we would be able to relax again.
Sometimes this feature is not beneficial and fear might actually be False Evidence Appearing Real but because our RAS has been triggered into finding the threat so we can escape it any evidence that contravines our fears is deleted, when this happens we can actually end up attracting what we don’t want and repelling what we do. In the long term we will develop issues with anxiety and depression.
Anxiety, depression and low self esteem can all make us see things we don’t want to see until we get deeper into realities we don’t want to be in. It is estimated that 80% of thoughts are unconscious, 95% are repetitive and for most people 80% of thoughts are negative so like the man in the story we end up attracting the things we don’t want.
The good news is it’s not just fear that creates tunnel vision, we can use our RAS to create a more positive reality and notice more of the things that we do want we do this by creating goals, taking action and noticing the things that are moving us towards those goals and then looking for things to be grateful for.