We say, “I think,” but what we really mean is: “thoughts come to me.”
If you meditate, you know what I mean. The seemingly endless stream of thoughts that bombard the untrained mind can be overwhelming.
Our job is to learn to lessen the thoughts we’re having, to create space between the noise. As the Zen saying goes, it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger… and the silence between the notes that makes the music. This space, or silence, is the key to ever-increasing creativity, calm, and connectedness.
The stiller the mind, the easier it becomes to choose the thoughts we want, and to deliberately plant thought seeds (ideas and intentions) that serve us.
Here’s how to get started:
1) Recognize you are not the disempowering thought, indeed that the thought does not even originate from you, and then let it go. In the same way that clouds may momentarily block the sun, un-serving thoughts can cover our ability to reason, especially when we mistakenly identify with them. Next time you find yourself brewing over a thought that doesn’t serve you, gently remind yourself: “I am not this thought.” Then…
2) Focus on the thoughts you WANT. As you breathe mindfully, observe the thoughts that flash across the screen of your mind. And, just like swiping through pictures on your cell phone, dwell only on those thoughts that you enjoy. Let the other ones go (bad hair day, irritable boss — swipe, swipe).
3) Bring your attention to this moment. Remember, the ultimate objective is to let go of disempowering thoughts. Because, again, the thought is not you. The true you, buried under all that noise, is spaceless, timeless, perfectly imperfect. This knowing comes from stilling the mind. Stillness is another word for being unconditionally present with yourself — bringing your full attention to this moment, again and again.
This requires practice. And, just like any practice, consistency is key. So take a few minutes today to give this a shot, and please let me know in the comments if you have a favorite way to redirect your attention.
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