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Why do we seek attention and how to overcome it?
After food and sleep, what kids really look for is attention. They will be playing at home, but the moment some guest comes, and the parents start talking to the guests children will start their tactics to draw the attention of their parents. Because the parents' attention is somewhere else and children are unable to tolerate that; they want to draw the attention towards themselves. This hunger for attention is there in every child.
Wherever you've already got attention, the mind doesn’t stay there. It looks at places where you are not getting attention.
Sometimes when people give you too much attention also, you are unable to take it, digest it, handle it. This is also an issue. Many marriages break because of this. Not because of some dispute, but because they feel stifled. Husband loves the wife so much, or wife loves the husband so much, that they start policing each other. Then at times you feel it’s so suffocating and break up.
Similarly, with parents, where mother or father give too much attention to their children. I have seen many kids coming here, saying: “I just want to get out of my parents home. I love them, they are too good, but I can’t stay with them” Why? They are unable to take the attention and digest it. It feels overwhelming.
In one's old age, people become even more miserable because they feel that they are not getting attention. They think, “Now that I have become old, nobody takes care of me, nobody asks for me, nobody talks to me.”
This hunger for seeking attention remains until death. Liberation means getting rid of this hunger. If we are content, then we become liberated or free. As long as we continue to seek the attention of others, this hunger will not get satisfied. Until the hunger is gone, there is no contentment. If there is no contentment, there is no freedom. If there is no freedom, then there is no happiness. How can one be happy when a person is stuck in bondage? How can one be blissful? There is no chance at all. That’s why, we should first of all identify if whatever we are doing, we are doing it to seek the attention of others or not. We have to ask ourselves this question.
We should see that there is an energy (shakti) which is looking at us every day with thousands of eyes. That is why this shakti is called Virupaksha. One of the names of Lord Shiva is Virupaksh, which means the one who has eyes but no form, just like our mind.
Mind is seeing, listening, but does the mind have any form? There is no form. Whatever the eyes see, it is only the mind that perceives it. If the mind is elsewhere, then even if the eyes are open you don’t perceive anything. When this realization – that there is somebody who is giving us attention and taking care of us all 24 hours, whether we like it or not and that they are our very own – dawns on us, then we see no meaning in seeking attention from others. There is no desire in seeking attention from others. This habit of seeking attention from others will appear very foolish and it disappears. Maturity in life comes when you don't crave attention from anybody.
When you don’t crave attention from others, then you are so fulfilled, then you are so centered and then you start becoming a giver. Till then we are beggars and want attention from people. But when we are centered and settled, then we say, "I am here to give. Come on, take what you want to take."
We should not think that others do not love us. If they do not love us, then it is their stupidity. In this world, if someone does not love the other then it’s his/her stupidity.
Just like the air outside you is connected to the air inside of you, the mind inside you is connected to the mind in the cosmos. The cosmos has a mind of its own. Just recognize – this little mind of mine is part of the one mind – gives enormous strength. It gives you such confidence. It gives you such satisfaction that nothing whatsoever can give. It gives you such immense dignity, strength. Words fails to describe what it is.
You don’t have to do anything, you only have to recognise it.