I was talking with a client today who has been struggling I had talked with him last week, and taught him, as I do everyone, about the Thought-Feeling connection, and the inside-out nature of life. I asked him if our conversation last week had been helpful at all. “Oh yes,” he said. ‘I’m working with my thoughts a lot.” Red flag right there. “Really,” I asked. “How so?” “Well, I’m catching myself more and more when I’m thinking negatively, and when I do, I drop those thoughts, and bring in thoughts of where I want to be going with my life.”This is a perfect description of what it’s like to work on your thoughts – not at all what an understanding of the principles gives us, but often the way that understanding is misinterpreted. I assume that’s because it’s what everything else is talking about – working on your thoughts – so because people who teach the principles are also talking about thought, people hear it as the same thing.
How is working on your thoughts like being in a leaky boat with a bucket? Because thought is way bigger than we are. We have hundreds of thousands of thoughts every day – possibly as many as 8 thoughts a second. There’s no way we could keep track of all our thoughts, and make all the ‘bad’ ones go away – there’s far too many of them. Plus, unless we work with a more fundamental understanding of the mind, the thought patterns stay the same, so the troubling thoughts just fill right back up again.
Understanding thought is more like understanding gravity. The first time you’re successful at riding a bike, you gain an understanding of gravity that allows you to align yourself with it, and from that point on, gravity supports you. The three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought work the same way. They’ve always been here, like gravity, and when we understand them we can align ourselves with them in a way that supports optimal mental functioning.
Here’s what that understanding looks like:
Your feelings work like a GPS system, always showing you whether you’re thinking in ways that bring you pain, stress or discomfort, or not. When your feelings go south, you’re at a crossroads: you either go outside in, and allow your thoughts to follow trains of thought that have to do with that uncomfortable feeling (My spouse is mad at me, what did I do, what did she say last time, am I really in the wrong, etc.); or you go inside out – you realize that in that moment your feelings are coming from our own thoughts, not the argument you had with your spouse.
When that happens – when you realize what’s going on and have an inside-out perspective – your thoughts clear themselves, of their own accord, the same way when you find balance on a bike, gravity supports you – you don’t ‘do’ gravity. This is a very important point. Our minds are designed to have thoughts and clear every moment of the day. We feel every one of those thoughts. But when we stay inside out the thoughts clear , we’re back in the present, and then onto the next thought.
When you go outside in, and start thinking about something beside thought as causing your feelings in the moment, its like getting swept out to sea on a rip tide, and it happens in a millisecond. If you don’t stay awake, feelings that make you insecure or anxious put you to sleep , and you’re lost in the movie of those thoughts, for minutes, hours or days,. Eventually something will jog you out of that thought loop, your mind will clear itself, and you start over, back to the present.
The benefits of understanding this are many:
1) Your mind is able to work the way nature designed it to. It can take care of the hundreds of thousands of thoughts you have every day –you can’t.
2) Understanding leads to having a much quieter mind. You are naturally present much of the time, without techniques or effort, because you’re simply not going off on so many unnecessary thought trails. You begin to gain all the benefits of mental presence – deeper feelings, better connections with others, and more.
3) Patterns that have plagued you for years or even decades will begin to break down and disappear, of their own accord.
And 4) With the open mental space that results naturally from not thinking all the time, your mind is free to receive thoughts of a higher order – insights, inspirations, and fresh ideas.
Why go around in a leaky boat with a bucket when understanding these principles leads to such a beautiful life?
With love, Annika