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Managing Your Attention. Part 1

Wishing, Attending, and Non-Doing

Because the subject of muscles is so close to us, we have all sorts of strange ideas when it comes to muscles, usually based on the belief that there is something wrong in the form of deep tension, emotional holdings, or carrying stress in the body. Because of this, most of us find it quite difficult to think constructively about ourselves. If, for instance, I lie down to give my directions and my back hurts, I'm likely to begin thinking about my back and to focus on what seems to be wrong with it. This, of course, is the wrong attitude, because if you direct in order to solve your back problem, or in order to reduce specific tensions, or because you think there is something wrong with your body and you want to correct it, you're going to get into all sorts of problems.

We have to understand, first of all, that our muscles work automatically as part of a total system, and we won't bring about an improved working of this total system by working with parts but only by thinking about the whole. We've got to get away from the idea that our objective is to correct specific problems; we are working with a system designed to work on its own, and if we try to do anything to correct the system, it can't work on its own. We also can't help matters by trying to relax or adjust specific parts of the body, because we don't really know what's wrong and what to do about it. We have to be patient and, as a starting point, stay out of our own way.

Now of course this sounds simple enough, but when it comes to this subject, even people who are otherwise quite disciplined find it difficult to stay on track and end up thinking about what they are worried about, not what they've decided to think about. When we approach the problem in this way, we are thinking negatively, and we've got to find a way to think positively and constructively, to talk nicely to ourselves, to manage our emotions. We've got to learn to do for ourselves what a teacher does: stay on track, stay focused, take our time, and stay constructive.

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