• The unsuspecting hostage


    When mental chatter overpowers our attention and holds it hostage, we lose our ability to perform effective and impactful actions.

    This is the same chatter of thoughts that makes us think about work when we are on a vacation, or makes us think about about the weekend when we are at work. We all have experienced this chatter when we lie in bed, thinking about things we were going to do the next day, next week, or sometimes even next year.

    There is a trick to free us from this chatter this very moment but we need to really understand the trick in order to pull this off.  Unfortunately in most of the cases our attention is not able to understand this trick and therefore remains an unsuspecting hostage of this chatter.

    So what is this trick?

    The trick is to have your attention not engage with chatter.

    “Hmm…”, you purse you lips,” This sounds very abstract … can we be more specific about how to do this?”

    Fair point. So here is the how you can do this: Start with experientially understanding what your attention really is then explore the nature of thoughts and finally understand the interplay between your thoughts and your attention.   

    And the moment you see the interplay between thoughts and attention experientially  - your attention is no longer a hostage to mental chatter! That is pretty much it.

    “If  the trick is so simple, why isn’t everyone doing this already?”, you ask after a pause.

    The fact that this simple trick remains largely unknown is indeed puzzling. Especially when this trick is the core of all mindfulness teachings across ages.

    I think that this is mainly because of three reasons.  Due these reasons very few have been able to use the trick to rescue their attention.

    So what are these reasons?

    Reason 1: Unless we experientially understand the nature of our attention and our thoughts we cannot truly comprehend what not engaging with thoughts really means. Without this understanding, the trick cannot be effective.

    Reason 2: Mental chatter acts like a metaphorical box that clouds our ability to comprehend things clearly. Lot of  us end up analyzing the  box from within the confines of one. This does not work very effectively. Taking the box off (or to Unbox) is a better, tried, and tested approach.

    Reason 3Many of us get enchanted by revelations about what happens after this box has been taken off as narrated  by well intentioned teachers and masters who have been able to take their own box off. Enveloped by a sense of security from the association with these teachers & masters, a lot of us then drop the ball on  taking our own box off.

    Because of these reasons most of us beleive that the trick to take the box off requires superhuman skills that only likes of monks and masters possess. This is of course not true. The simple trick is accessable to all of us and we all can liberate our attention right now.

    Taking this box off changes the way we think to mindful thinking. This skill can transform our lives in a very positive way. With mindful thinking, we make fewer mistakes. Our attention does not get easily distracted. We do things that we want to do in a much better way. We are able to think only when we want to.

    So, what are you waiting for?  Take that box off!