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The distracting nature of looking out rather than looking in



Do you ever find yourself reading or watching something that connects with you, then become distracted thinking about another person that would benefit from the information? Perhaps you even pick up your phone and share it immediately.


While sharing is a fantastic way to help each other and develop awareness to new opportunities for learning, it can also distract us from what is possible for us in that moment. When we take the step to externalise first, we can lose an opportunity for wisdom to speak into us. That initial spark of connection, a creativity that bursts within us, is a message of something deeper and available to us.


We have been given an opportunity to grow. Something not thought of before has become intertwined with our consciousness and is generating possibility. When we think of others, we have become distracted to that possibility.


Often that distraction is the visual picture of another person, and we begin to think how beneficial what we have just read or watched would be for them. We have let go of the possibility for ourselves and become focussed on the possibility for others. Now this isn’t to say that it may not be beneficial for them, or that your care and concern for another isn’t a very special thing. It can provide insight into what may be taking place for us.


There is a quote by Carl Jung that may provide some insight here. He shares “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” It reveals that what concerns us about another person is often a reflection of what exists within us, and an opportunity to understand ourselves more deeply. When we visualise another person when reading and sensing a deep connection to ourselves, it may be that something similar is taking place for us.


We see the physical embodiment or the perceived physical embodiment of who that connection could be helpful for and miss that it may be for ourselves. That picture is an example of what may be present within us and therefore an opportunity to learn about ourselves.


The distraction comes when we externalise that embodiment rather than internalising it.


The world in which we live is preoccupied with externalisation, we are certainly consumed with the outside world and many times prioritise it above our inner journeys. It becomes a habitual process that is challenging to shift. It is not surprising that we follow a similar pattern with our inner journeys as individuals. We externalise it and find other people or communities that would benefit, rather than what wisdom is available to us.


In a fast paced world, spending time and reflecting on something we have read or watched, can be counter cultural. Seeking to understand ourselves will take time. It will require us to take responsibility to invest in ourselves, embrace the opportunity for new learning and experience the benefits that come as a result.


Next time distraction comes, sit with what you have read or watched and ask:

  • What about what I have read creates possibility for me?

  • What is causing my connection to this?

  • Is that person I have thought of, representing something within me?

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