Changing Attention and Core Beliefs?


Hello Adam,

My question is about attention. I frequently come to your site and read up on other spiritual leaders/masters and find your words a comfort to my heart.

But. . . my mind doesn't comprehend none of it! I understand deep down that the mind and thoughts are just a happening and I should remain the space for that happening. In a way, there isn't really a choice in 'just letting it happen' it just is.

But, my problem is this: Some of my thoughts come at me like a car crash/accident. At that point you cannot help but turn your head around to observe and witness such an accident. It's almost automatic. I can't help the attention being so caught up in the thought, following it and bringing it in like a rubix cube and examining it.

Which leads to more fueled feelings of depression, anxiety and hurt. 
I grasp now it's to do with my attention towards such thoughts, but I can't help it. I can't seem to pull my attention away, or gently bring it to the breath. I wonder if you have another way I can keep my attention elsewhere to remain neutral and show no interest in my car crashing thoughts?

I do notice they are habitual thoughts, this doesn't make it any easier though, in fact, sometimes they come back so powerful and more destructive than ever before!! Also, it's the fact they keep coming back too. I know I can't control it, or end it, or change it, etc. I just want to be able to have more power over my attention to be able to not give these car crashing thoughts any more power. . .I just don't know how to do it, or even to stop believing in them also, how do you just all of a sudden stop giving such thoughts belief? 

The thoughts that come are so powerful that my attention can't help but drift and lock on such thinking. Another explanation to these thoughts is like watching a toddler putting a pillow to a fire, and trying to ignore the child (thought) you know would be a very bad idea! 

How do I 'train' or change my attention and my core belief system? I try staying quiet within and not chase, follow or show interest or belief to thoughts, but like I described, it's becoming more difficult and I am now starting to have physical symptoms happening in the body (I have been checked out by a doctor and they say it's somatic and psychic pain!) and this worries me, because it's like I am now trying to deny and ignore my worrying thoughts by showing them no interest!
I hope this makes sense. I am in dire need of advice.

Thank you for reading, Mack.


Hi Mack,

Ok, so it is quite normal for all this to happen. Attention itself can feel like a glue to thoughts, and a glue that seems to have a power of its own.

Perhaps don't follow any instructions at all. If it feels as if the effort is personal, as if there is an individual trying to do something, trying to keep quiet, trying to ignore thoughts, or whatever, then it is the same struggle that would exist with anything else in the world.

The personal mind takes spiritual instruction as if it is a task to complete, and feels it must do something to be free. Even it is just "being", a contracted energy inside says "ok, I will just be" - but being exists before any kind of personal construct! It is the habit of somehow believing that you are an entity in the head which can create so much trouble.

It might all be easier if you just let the attention travel wherever it wants to. Don't try to wrestle with the movement of attention. I know for a while it feels that you are intimately connected to the attention and suffer as a result, but this is not permanent thing.

If any of this kind of "spirituality" is undertaken with the underlying wish to get something or get somewhere, then it again feels messy. It is the expectation of something better which can keep things feeling so tight.

I don't know if I can actually give you any direct advice, since "you" don't actually exist.

Reading your question again, there is still a resistance to the moment which is creating suffering. Attention goes into thoughts, then a reflex says "no, this should not be happening, my attention should be elsewhere, not here, how can I shift it elsewhere". You also mentioned you wish to have more power over your attention. Is it possible for there to be no conflict with attention moving here and there? Is it possible to forget every spiritual word you have ever heard, and forget about whether you should have this or that thought, or where the attention should be? Is that possible?

Thought, sensation, attention - is all inevitable content. What allows it to happen?

The sense of being, existence , or "I Am" is ever-present. Trying to focus on it can make you feel apart from it. What is it that feels separate from existence itself?

Not believing thoughts is easier when you can see the untrue nature of them. They can still appear and they are fine, but they are for the most part, just fabrications. For example if you look at a chair, it is not actually "a chair". The thought "chair" is not what the thing actually is. The thought "laptop" is not actually what the thing is. Perhaps notice the way that thought creates its own world of separate events, labels and happenings, which are not actually true representatives of what is happening. For example if you were to watch a dog show or a horse race, the dog or horse wins. The human owner is so happy, elated, pleased they have won. For the dog, no competition exists. We can think that this is just because the animal doesn't understand what is going on. Actually, it is because it is a shared illusion of the human mind. At least, that's what I think!

If you are not satisfied with this answer, feel free to comment below.

Perhaps just give up trying to achieve something.

Thanks for your question,



Comments for Changing Attention and Core Beliefs?

(from previous website)

Aug 26, 2015
Difficulty Understanding 
by: Mack

Hi Adam, thank you for your reply. The only difficulty I am having lack of understanding with, is what you said here: I quote - "It is the habit of somehow believing that you are an entity in the head. . ." And then, ". . . since "you" don't actually exist." 

Do you mean as an individual, that I don't exist? How can I realize that I do not exist as a personal 'me'? Will I ever realize this? I can't help but feel this personal 'me' or the 'entity in the head'as it feels so very real. How does one begin to see past this illusion? 

Aug 26, 2015
by: Adam -

Don’t bother trying to realise something. It still makes you feel separate, like "me and the thing I must realise". 

Also don’t bother trying to get rid of the sense of individuality. It is fine. But, you already speak of this feeling of being an individual as if it is an appearance in you. You said "‘the entity in the head’ feels so very real". So it feels real. But if you can speak of it as if it is an object, then is it what you are? 

The one trying to realise it or work it out or understand it, is just an energy movement, appearing in you.

Aug 26, 2015
Thank You. 
by: Mack

Thank you Adam for getting back to me. I still feel this tight and tension energy within me as if it is my own. It's strange to just accept it for what it is. Including the thoughts too. 

The way I was being was: I would be like an observer watching the thoughts and knew they were just that, but within the observer I would still feel these thoughts causing me so much distress. A 'voice' if you like would be saying it's because I was ignoring the thoughts that I needed to pay attention to. Once paying attention to them, they would only make me feel worse and bad about myself. Then the cycle continued. 
It's like you said (if I haven't misunderstood) that I have took it rather personal towards 'me' when there is no 'me' it's just all happening and I continue to suffer because I am trying to fix, change, analyze and have this niggling notion that there is still a way out of this, there is still a way to get better. 
I am aware that that thinking right there I have described is what is creating my suffering? 

Aug 26, 2015
Finally Understand 
by: Mack

Sorry Adam, 
I have just replied to your second reply and had another question in it. Which you don't have to answer. I just wanted to say I re-read your first reply a few times, until I finally grasped it. I understand what you mean now. 

Thank you for your reply, it's really appreciated and very kind of you to spend your time getting back to me. 

Thank you again and also what a wonderful site too that you have. Your words have helped.