Thinking, we do way too much of that. Paralysis by analysis.
The mind is a useful tool to accomplish things, make decisions and to solve problems. However sometimes you need to tell that hamster to take a break.
One of the biggest obstacles we all face is we relentlessly use our minds to ruminate on the past, rehashing what has been. Either to rationalize decisions, events or outcomes, to somehow tell ourselves that we did the best we could or to play the poor me game. If only I hadn’t, or I would’ve, or I should’ve or could’ve then, my life would be better now.
Other than learning from our mistakes and gaining some perspective or wisdom, we need to move on. Wishing about the past is a total waste of time and energy. The past made you who you are today, but who you will be tomorrow is entirely up to you.
The same thing holds true when pondering the future turns into worry or fear. Instead of creating intentions, goals and plans, you dwell in a place of fear. You create fear out of an uncertain future.
The truth is we all have survived our worse imagined fears because most, if not all, of our worries never came to fruition. Of the losses, hurt, pain, challenges and suffering we’ve all gone through most weren’t foreseen to begin with and we have overcame them all. We are still here, feeling our way through life.
Beyond the past and the future we have the now. This isn’t big news per se as the concept has been around in many forms for eons. “Be here now.” “This moment is the only moment there ever was or will be.” Being in the now, awareness of the moment is the basis of mindfulness.
You see a lot about mindfulness in the media. Not too much in the mainstream media but every so often you will see something about it. But if you hang around the fringes of society and explore the concept of mindfulness (and using meditation to enhance mindfulness), it is really taking off.
Mindfulness has many definitions to many people. To me it is simply an awareness or focus on the present moment; right now. It is taming your monkey mind and getting it to slow down and to be present. You don’t allow your mind to drift back in time or to project forward to the future, unless you are trying to learn or remember something or if you were strategically thinking about concrete things you need to accomplish. You use your mind as a tool and you don’t let your mind run the show.
You have a set of interior guidelines of where you will let your thoughts and emotions go. When your mind tugs at the leash you gently pull it back to the now. There is no punishment or negativity associated with correcting a drifting mind, you simply catch it in the act and bring it back to where you want to be. It’s a judgment free action; no good, no bad, just you gently controlling your thoughts.
You find yourself feeling a feeling or emotion; you track down the root of the physical manifestation. I feel irritated, why? Why am I feeling this feeling of irritation? Often times you track it down and it is just your mind on autopilot or playing games to keep itself busy.
Often times your emotions are caused by a denial of what is. What is is what is. Recognize it and deal with it in whatever manner is best, but do not waste time denying what is or wishing what is was not. It’s all about acceptance or surrender, if you will.
You feel your feelings and emotions physically. Often times the physical sensations, such as the feeling of anger or whatever, precede the emotion itself. When you physically feel the emotion being created you can try to head it off at the pass and mitigate or minimize the situation. Am I being rational here? Is this non-issue really worth getting pissed about? Am I going to allow my mind to go here?
More often than not most emotions are created by the ego. The ego is our image of us. It is who we believe we are. Ourselves, parents, teachers, coaches, culture and society work together to create and mold our self image.
When we feel negative or unpleasant feelings it is because something is happening that is an affront to our self image. When we feel positive emotions they are confirmations, affirmations and reassurances to our self image and, by extension, our world view, thoughts and opinions. Be aware it is just an image, not reality and images can be changed for, hopefully, the better.
My point here is that thoughts, feeling and emotions are within our control. If you practice being present, in the moment, you have the choice as to what you allow to have power to in your life, right now. You don’t have to take every thought you have as being important and/or valid. Your mind and its thought processes never cease to run, but you can push them to the background or ignore those which you have no need for in your life. Just let them go like a helium balloon.
I also believe, regardless of how it works, that your thoughts create your reality. If you dwell on the negative you get negative. Maybe it is just a filtration system and if you’re dwelling on the negative that is all that gets through; negativity. Conversely, if you dwell on positive, energetic, creative, etc., that is also what you get.
You reap what you sow. I believe in the power of intention. I practice intention everyday and for me it works. It works because I allow it to work. I believe in it.
I believe that the right action, the right decisions, the right feelings are not found in thought. They are not found outside of you either. All the information you need you already possess. You know the right answer to every question and situation intuitively.
If you practice being in the now, being present and quieting the mind, the truth always presents itself. Call it your conscience, call it the Holy Spirit, call it intuition or gut feelings, but it is always there. Once you know the real answer you can call your mind into action to help in making it so.
The truth lies in the heart, not in the brain.