text and photo © Jonathan Zap
With internal considering you are evaluating everything from the perspective of your wants, needs, desires, feelings and status. If you are locked into internal considering you are on the timeline of the princess and the pea; the whole world is your irritant and everything seems to be conspiring against your comfort. External considering, focusing compassionately on others, is of inestimable value in itself. What is often underestimated, however, is that it is one of the very few reliable shortcuts out of inner neurotic torment which is always dominated by internal considering. Often people can get further lost in their own neurotic world by infinitely psychoanalyzing their childhood situations and the complexities of their present unhappiness. Sometimes the best way out of that quagmire is to focus compassionately on others, and there are always others in greater pain and need than you. And even if they are not in greater pain and need, it may be of value to occassionally focus on them instead of yourself. I made a lot of progress with my self-referential, egocentric and narcissistic personality during my fourteen years as a schoolteacher. My default state of internal considering was forced into external considering when I was in the classroom, because with 30+ high-energy kids to educate there was no possibility of drifting off into inner neurotic labyrinths. So external considering not only benefits others, it also benefits you.
If other people are not available, focus on relating impeccably to the outer world in general. If you are driving, focus on driving as impeccably as possible. Bring mindfulness to whatever chores, tasks or activities you are doing. Sometimes you may need to pay more attention to what clamoring inner voices are saying and to the subpersonalities that generate those voices. Other times we are just afflicted by “psychic entropy.” Psychic entropy is information that conflicts with existing intentions or that distracts people from carrying out intentions. Typically, psychic entropy takes the form of annoying, anxious thought tape-loops that fragment attention and diminish the ability to focus on anything useful or enjoyable. One proven way to reduce psychic entropy is to be in a state of optimal functioning that Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow.” Click here: FLOW to learn more about this desirable state of total engagement.
A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler