When I was a little girl, I remember going fishing with my dad, watching him carefully place the bait on the hook – gosh it all seemed so fascinating! I couldn’t understand why the fish would want to bite the hook when they could clearly see it penetrating the bait. My dad smiled and patiently answered, “The fish are so tempted by the tasty morsel that they don’t put their attention on the hook!”
Wow! I thought that was so weird since we’ve been fishing for eternity and fish have been watching us catch them. You’d think that they’d be onto us by now and avoid the bait! When I shared that thought with my dad he rolled his eyes and laughed, “Honey, the fish want the short term satisfaction of the food and don’t think about the consequences of the bait, and thank goodness or we’d have nothing for dinner!”
Since then, I’ve come to realize that people are no different than fish.
And although we perceive ourselves to be higher on the evolutionary scale – in many ways we’re not. For example, how many times in your life has someone said something challenging to you and instead of seeing their words as bait for a painful argument – you bite? You take the tasty morsel without paying attention to the shiny hook – favoring the momentary rush of being right over the long term consequences of living your life in conflict with others.
We abdicate our personal power and responsibility in favor of something we can never truly control – the behavior, opinions, and points of view of others. Truth is – if we take the bait we suffer the consequences.
So just like fish, we’ve been dealing with each other forever and we still haven’t learned that if we take the bait we’ll end up hooked. Does that sound like a conscious species to you? I don’t think so!
It’s important to understand that attention is the mechanism we use to create our reality – whether it is one of peace or suffering. The ability to focus our attention is the one of the few things in life we can actually control. We choose what we want to see and what we don’t want to see in any situation.
If we put our attention on the bait we’ll feel the temptation for the tasty morsel rising in our bodies – whatever that bait represents for us in the moment. And we know the consequences of doing so, we all do – but we do it anyway. So how many times are we going to choose to not see the hook in favor of the bait? How many centuries does humanity have to suffer this self-imposed ignorance?
I for one do not like the idea of being hooked like a fish and I’m tired of crying victim to the hooks I choose to bite. How can any of us cry ignorance when these hooks are dangling right in front of us? Truly, is there any bait that’s so blinding that we can’t see the hook right behind it?
For example, how many times have your loved ones suggested that the person you’re dating is going to cause you to suffer? But just because you want the tasty morsel of someone to love, you take the bait – you’re SO hungry for attention, company, and validation you ignore the obvious.
Or how about when you’re applying for a job and the company hangs out a tempting lure? Your deep inner awareness is screaming NO as it can clearly see the hook. But because of your fear around lack and your need for security, your attention is focused on the money – and you take the bait suffering the consequences of a job you don’t enjoy.
Or how about when you’re afraid of your own success and living your life boldly – so you purposely sabotage yourself by taking bait of succumbing to procrastination or overwhelm two behaviors you know will take you down the road to ruin? I could give thousands of examples of how we choose not to see the obvious, but I think you get the idea here.
I for one have made the choice to place my attention on any and all inner fears that could possibly put me into a self-created denial, blinding me to the hooks that lurk behind all those tasty morsels in life.
The question becomes will you do the same?
I encourage you to open your eyes and be aware of where you choose to place your attention. It’s well worth it not to suffer like a fish on a hook!
So do share what things hook your attention and what strategies you’ve employed to stop yourself from going for the bait! I’d love to hear how you deal with these kinds of situations – please let us know what tools you’ve got in your toolbox.
To your great life,