My Thought Machine

You know how our minds never stop producing thoughts? In fact, in order to meditate, we actually have to focus our attention on something else like our breathing, or a mantra, or some guided imagery in order to try to clear the mind. It reminds me of clouds going by in the sky. They attract our attention away from the peaceful universe behind them. It seems like our monkey minds are always on auto pilot with whatever our psyche feels will serve us. Recently, I have become so aware of how much my thoughts engage me…specifically how much time I spend with worries about the future or replaying events of the past. I’d love to just be in the moment, peacefully experiencing “what is” as it happens. I also find it funny that when I try to stop thoughts, I get sidetracked by my thinking about my thinking…once again detracting from being simply present!

I just read Michael Singer’s books The Untethered Soul and Living Untethered, and I became so inspired to practice being the observer of my thoughts. He describes what provokes thought from our experiences in life – things we fear or positive experiences we try to cling to – and it makes so much sense. Of course our psyches, or egos would try to keep us safe, but the longer we live, the more thought-producing memories have downloaded and will be running warnings in our minds. Our beliefs about what we can or can’t have in place in order to be comfortable will feed the monkeys and last a lifetime! And, as I said before, the harder we try to control our busy minds, the more we focus on that, you know what I mean?

Anyway, I figured if I am to have any success, I’d need to relax into what I’m experiencing and be the observer of the source of my emotions. It’s so easy to justify my disappointment about a rainy day for my picnic, or my frustration about a traffic jam on route to my appointment, or my being hurt by a friend’s criticism. What I have discovered is, if I allow the emotion to be felt as human, but look at the source of the thoughts, I discover I’m engaging in what my mind thinks I need in order to be comfortable. My trying to control the weather is unreasonable, so after that inital disappointment, there’s no need to perseverate about it. My protesting a traffic jam serves no purpose either…once again, it happens. And once I realize I will be late, I only need to figure out what I can do about it in a state of acceptance rather than continued frustration. These ongoing negative emotions are actually not good for my health since fight-or-flight reactions lessen the immune system. So if I am hurt by a critical comment directed at me, I need to realize I’m giving too much power to that person to be able to do that, and, I need to check my sense of self worth… and then let it go.

I’m learning that thoughts that keep replaying in my mind are usually from a feeling of lack of control. All of my analyzing, interpreting, resenting, etc. are reminders of what I’ve stored from my experiences and now are robbing me of my peace. I am actually limiting my own happiness…not the weather, not the traffic, and not my friend. It’s me doing that. So my goal is to learn how to allow those concerning thoughts to pass by like clouds. I’m trying to be more aware of finding more acceptance for just “what is” and be grateful for how the Universe is serving it up for me to experience.

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