If you pay attention to something it will flourish. Plants grow if they are tended and nourished, as do children. But attention doesn’t discriminate between good and bad. Pay attention to a naughty child, focus on their tantrums and bad behaviour, and the naughtiness and the tantrums will also increase. As Deepak Chopra said, “Attention energises, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life. Whatever you take your attention away from will wither, disintegrate, and disappear.”
These days, when I watch the news or read social media, it feels as if the world has gone mad. News stories are focused on the ills in this world; wars, unrest, crime, worsening economies, unemployment, climate change, not to mention the political fear and hatred of anything or anyone different to ourselves. Social media is quick to pick up on these stories and spread them, together with divided personal opinions, faster than the news itself. As we pay more attention to the evils around us, we are caught in this whirlwind of negativity, which seemingly grows with unstoppable power, feeding on our awareness. So, fearfully this time, we continue to watch the news and read social media, to justify our fear and so the madness continues to grow as we maintain the attention.
Yet, I also do not feel we can hide our heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine with the world. There are certain things we should know to make informed decisions. We need to know which politicians really care for us and our world so we can vote for them. We need to know how the climate is affected by the choices we make. We need to be empathetic to people who are dealing with issues we have no knowledge of. As Chopra also said, “There is just no getting around that turning bad things into good things is up to you.”
So, what can we do to start turning the bad things into good things? I wish I had the answers. However, I believe we can choose to individually pay more attention to the things which make us happy, satisfy us and help to make us feel more positive. We can focus on our families, our pets, our plants and we can look after ourselves, making sure we get the nourishment – physically, mentally and emotionally – which we need. We can eat healthily, go for a walk, read a book, spend time with our family and friends, garden, play music, be creative, do a good deed or two, laugh more, and bring energy into our own lives.
This morning, instead of watching the news, I meditated, did some yoga and watched a comedy. This afternoon, as I type this post, I sit in silence, even the hum of the cars on the road outside is so distant I can hardly hear it. I don’t do silence very often and perhaps I should. This evening I will cook a healthy meal and read one of the books on my “to read” list. Maybe tomorrow I’ll watch the news, maybe I won’t. If I do, I will try to counteract the negative with something positive, something good.