The first principle of the energetic world is that "energy follows thought." This means that when you put your attention on something, your energy also goes there. You begin sending energy to the object of your attention. You're doing it right now by putting your attention on these words. You also do it when you tie your shoes, remember a kiss, or fear a rejection. As you put your attention on each of these things, some of your energy goes there.
The second principle of the energetic world is that "energy feeds things." This means that sending energy to something makes it grow, makes it both grow physically larger and makes your experience of it become stronger and more vivid. So putting your attention on these words makes them more real and vivid for you. Putting your attention on the kiss or the feared rejection makes your experience of them grow, makes them more real and vivid, also.
So whatever you focus on, you make more of. As you feed it your energy, it grows, both externally and as part of your experience. As you remember the kiss, it grows more vivid and specific and delightful. As you imagine the rejection, it becomes more vivid and specific and frightening.
The Big Question
So the big question becomes, What do you want more of? What in your world do you want to feed, and what do you want to stop feeding? What do you want to pay more attention to, and what do you want to shift your attention away from?
Here we need to make an important distinction. Shifting your attention away from something is not the same as suppressing it or going into denial about it. Suppression happens when you push something totally out of your conscious awareness so that you become unaware of it. Denial happens when you remain aware of it, but deny that it has consequences or importance for you. Here, when you shift your attention away from something, you remain aware that it exists and that it could be important, but you don't dwell there and feed it. You remain aware of it peripherally, but move most of your attention to something else. You remain able to notice a change in the situation and take action as needed. You're not ignoring or denying it, but you're also not feeding it energy.
Of course, in order to shift your attention in this way, you have to be able to voluntarily control where your attention goes and bring it back when it wanders. To learn this skill, you must practice, over and over, controlling your attention. This is the underlying goal of all meditation practices, though the teachers often don't say so explicitly.
I believe that developing the skill of voluntarily controlling your attention is the most important thing you can do in life, that it will have the most impact on your experience of life. I'll have more to say on this in future articles.