What were we thinking?

In the last issue of SPIN I talked about the life-long challenge of letting go. At the risk of being somewhat repetitive, I’d like to explore further the profound significance of our ability to let go.

Each moment, each of us creates our experience of reality from within, via thought. We have innocently learned to take our thinking very seriously and, as a result, we’re often gripped by insecure thoughts that lower our mood. We’ve forgotten that we have the innate capacity to let go of a thought and thus live in well-being more of the time. We’ve forgotten that we have a choice.

In our innocence we also learned to accept the idea that our thoughts, and the feelings that came with them, were telling the truth, that they were painting an accurate picture of the world around us.

At last that myth has been shattered. We now know that we’re no longer at the whim of every thought. We are, instead, free to recognize the quality of a thought by the quality of the feeling that’s laminated to it. For example if our habit is to feel angry or upset when we’re confronted by a rude or indifferent sales person, we know that behind the feeling is some angry or upset thinking. Is it possible that there are other choices that we could make? Could we see that the sales person is also being gripped by their thinking and this has nothing to do with us or our state of mind? Could we even go so far as to see their innocence and feel compassion for them?

Those are just a few of the possibilities available to us when we let an uncomfortable thought go and change our perspective.

Just as we strive to maintain our physical flexibility, so we want to maintain our mental flexibility. We want to avoid habitual rigid thinking that doesn’t serve us and instead respond from a calm mind with fresh thinking that flows.

As we become more aware of our thinking as the source of our experience, we can begin to challenge some of our more entrenched ideas and open ourselves to new ways of seeing. We can let go of some of our expectations of how things “should” be, or of what we “need” the outcome to be.

Rather than have our thinking stick like Velcro, we are free to choose thinking that flows like Teflon.

There are so many advantages in choosing to let go. Physically we can reap enormous benefits, from lowered blood pressure to relief of muscle tension. Emotionally and spiritually, our world will change. When we no longer take our thinking so seriously and personally, we are no longer at the mercy of outside events. Our well-being is not dependent on the state of mind of another. We’re free to have a much richer experience of life.

For most of us it seemed that outside events and other people were making us angry or causing us upset. It seemed that the weather or traffic or lineups were making us impatient and grumpy. We now know that it’s all an inside job. What were we thinking?

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