Effective but slow

Anger (along with fear and self-doubt, all related), it appears, is a function of our lower and reactive minds throwing up a wall against adaptation and change. On the other hand our souls call upon us to expand and achieve greater purposes in life. Whose call will we answer to?

In the context of anger, we can now
define massage as:
"A horizontal anger-management course; total class time 60 to 70 minutes." See how much more
efficient that is than spending an entire weekend at a cheesy hotel and reading a long and poorly written manual,
listening to a boring instructor?

Once we lasso in the distractions known as worry and anger, then we're more free to actually focus on what we want to achieve.

One of the leading researchers in the field of religious mysticism was Evelyn Underhill. In her epic and scholarly
Mysticism (1911), she noted that the
education that tradition has ever prescribed for the mystic consists in the gradual development of an
extraordinary faculty of concentration, of
focus, of contemplation. This in-growing concentration is
anything but self-absorption, since it is balanced,
perhaps even outmatched, by a great outgoing sense of expansion and other-directedness. (In some ways 'mystic' is an unfortunate word because it simply means one who gets a direct glimpse into the inner workings of reality in a way that traditional education could never hope to impart in its wildest dreams.)

One of the greatest spiritual writers of the early 20th century


The level of focus we want to achieve would be worthless without this resultant
outbound direction. Said the Rev. Rick Warren in
A Purpose Driven Life, what our
family wants and needs most out of us is not our gifts but our
focused attention. True love concentrates so intently on another that we forget ourselves for the moment. What we're seeing here is focus becoming the antidote to self-absorption. We're also getting our first glimpse into a working definition of the nature of that
hard-to-pin-down and ever-abused word known as 'love'.

If we note one attribute of people who we call "charming," we see that one of their qualities is that they're delightfully focused on us to a degree we're not accustomed. On top of this, they don't display that irritating aspect of self-assertion (self-gain / we can see it in their eyes), so we naturally relax and open up to them. We're also
glimpsing here a fundamental life principle that
focus and attention are more powerful forces than self-assertion. However, note that some highly charming people on the outside are some of the most crafty and manipulative on the inside.

An example of the life-enhancing power of focus comes from the study of religious icons, particularly in Russia. Some devotees believe that when a statue or painting is made perfectly, the spirit of the deity enters into it. Moreover, the person who presents himself
before the image receives the benefits of this spirit. When we honor a holy icon we know we're in the
presence of the numinous (deity, sacred). So we're seeing that when we can focus with reverent
intentions, there is a positive bounce-back effect upon others.
Said the apostle Paul in Philippians 3, "This one thing I do."

"If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time insight into and understanding of many things."
- Vincent van Gogh

Used as an aid to devotion

So when it comes to accomplishing our goals, a scan of the literature reveals that mental control, learning to concentrate by narrowing our focus of attention, more
specifically to screen out unwanted thoughts, fosters better results. This practice is akin to that found in meditation. Did you ever see a superior athlete or musician who wasn't focusing when he or she performed? Did you ever see a baseball player check his watch? Did you ever see a bored woman on a date
not check her watch or check her cell phone for messages?

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