A little over a week ago I received the instructions to an exercise to help focus the conscious mind and quiet all the nattering voices. And let me say – I have a full complement of nattering voices!
The exercise involves sitting with a candle for 10 minutes a day and staring into the flame. Funny, when I write that out it sounds like something out of the “Karate Kid”. Oh well, that’s the exercise. As I stare into the flame, the exercise is to focus on keeping my mind still. Each time I notice that my mind has wandered off to anything other than the flame, I mark a tally and bring my focus back to present. It’s one of those “simple but not easy” tasks.
The instructions dictate 30 consecutive days of candle-staring. I am now in my 8th day. I had assumed when I started this process that the number of marks would decline a little bit each day until I got to the end and had a blissfully peaceful mind.
In fact, I’m noticing that the number of marks is going UP each day. I have lots of theories on why that might be, but ultimately I don’t think they matter. What matters is that I can choose to take this as a defeat or an encouragement. The defeat would be – the number of marks goes up each day, so this isn’t working and I’m a failure. The encouragement would be – I’m sticking with something even though I haven’t seen any demonstrable results yet, and I’m proud of myself for being persistent!
Given that I’m writing about this in a Miracle Journal, I’ll give you two guesses about which road I’m on.
My hypothesis is that I will continue seeing this number of marks for a little while longer until all of a sudden one day it will drop dramatically.
When I think back, that’s often how my shifts have occurred in the past – lots of sturm und drang and hoopla until all of a sudden there’s a major shift that I didn’t see coming. Come to think of it, it’s sort of like The Miracle of Forgiveness that I wrote about the other day – I wrestled with feelings of anger for 10 years, and then in the space of 10 seconds it was done.
My job is to keep the faith, stay present, and stay persistent. If you need me, I’ll be sitting here staring at my candle.