Listening to your SEEKING system
The SEEKING system inside us creates an internal sense of intense and enthusiastic exploration, curiosity, and interest. Your SEEKING system naturally responds to internal needs and external resources, but of course you can tune in or block it out. Noticing and attending to your needs and desires is innate – we all automatically do it as babies and children. By the time we are an adult, we may have learnt to focus more on others desires or on man made needs encouraged by the media. Noticing and attending to your own interests can take skill and deliberate practice.
This is not to encourage self centred narcissism but simply to notice what it is that you want, that you desire, that you are interested in exploring. And if you are paying close attention, this will sometimes be related to others and sometimes very much focused on yourself. As a parent of lively 8 year old twins, I notice my desires and dreams are closely allied with theirs a lot of the time, that their joy is my joy; however, I also give myself permission to notice and seek out what my heart desires that is separate from them – interests, aloneness, quiet time, adult conversation, etc.
Have a moment to ask yourself how much you allow yourself to notice and respond to your SEEKING system. Don’t get distracted with “I never have time to do what I really want!”
This is about the relationship you have with your desires and dreams are you listening and attending to them even when you have to put them on hold for practical reasons?
Your unconscious mind is listening to your SEEKING system even if you aren’t – your irritation and frustration, anxiety and depression, can be an unconscious reflection of an ignored SEEKING system. For instance, I get much more easily irritated with my children when I have been ignoring my own needs. A great example of this is how we get angry more easily when we are hungry whether we consciously admit it or not. This phenomena even has its own word – hangry!
For these reasons, there are two parts to listening to your SEEKING system. The first is paying attention to your basic physiological needs. The second is paying attention to your emotional, social and personal needs. We are rubbish at the latter if we ignore the former. The questions below can help you examine the relationship you have with these.
Are you aware of your need for food, water, exercise, oxygen, sleep, toileting, and treating physical health problems? (circle those that you find hard to notice)
Can you respond to your body’s needs effectively? What circumstances help (e.g. being on holiday or being in a routine at home, since you have had children or since your children have left home, when you are encouraged or when you are left to look after yourself, or nothing you have noticed)?
Can you be curious about your relationship with each of these bodily needs? Perhaps instead you have shut down, disconnected, undermined the importance of them etc?
Are you aware of your needs, interests, hopes, dreams, desires?
Are they respectful of you as a person (not harming you), others (not harming others), as well as reality (not needing reality to change so your desires can be realised)?
Can you notice what you are interested in without always having to do something immediately to respond to it?
Do you have ways to work towards your long term aims?