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6 Habits of Hope (


If we are not present, we will not see what’s happening and therefore miss out on life. Conversely, whenever we pay attention, life reveals itself to us

Being present also cultivates intrinsic hope because it gives us more choices about how to act and makes it more likely that our choices will be appropriate in the moment. 

Being present is not only about noticing what is happening in the external world; it is also about noticing what is happening in our minds. In fact, you can’t have one without the other because we cannot perceive anything without the mind. This is the basis of mindfulness. 

Author Maggie Jackson put it this way: “The (distracted) way we live is eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention — the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress.

Selective Attention
Selective attention is about focusing on specific features of a situation to the exclusion of all others. It’s about not seeing some things because we are too busy concentrating on others. This is the opposite of distraction, but like distraction, it is very powerful.

Many people think they can’t meditate because their minds are so busy, but it’s not about trying to get rid of thoughts. It is about changing your relationship with your thoughts. It’s about training the mind to be less attached to thoughts and examining the nature of mind itself. Meditation is really very simple, even if it’s not always easy. At a minimum, all it involves is taking a few deep breaths, becoming aware of the present moment and acknowledging what is happening in your mind.

Using Our Senses
Another way to be more fully present is to use our senses to the best of our ability. Most of us rely on our sight and hearing and are less aware of our other senses. But neglecting some and taking others for granted limits our ability to perceive the richness and fullness of life. So by remembering to use all of our sensory equipment, we can be more present, experience more of life, and therefore be more hopeful.

Wonder nurtures intrinsic hope because it cuts through our storylines and beliefs about life. Transcending thought, it penetrates us to the deepest levels of our humanity and lifts us up to the heavens. It affirms life’s preciousness, power, and goodness.

Bearing Witness
Bearing witness is a very powerful act because it relies on our experience rather than on what we think or feel about it. Whether we are bearing witness to the wonder of life or to pain and suffering, it can nurture intrinsic hope. 

To read more of Kate Davis' article, please click here.

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