Note: I’m excited to share with you Chapter 11 from my new book, At the Core of Every Heart: Reflections, Insights, and Practices for Waking Up and Living Free. It’s the kind of book you’ll want on your bedside table with 52 essays, each with a reflection or practice to bring the teachings alive in your own experience. To purchase the book, please click here.
I used to live my life completely caught up in my mind. An underlying sense of anxiety fed a constant stream of thinking that left me feeling stressed and out of sorts.
Now I know it’s not a requirement to live in that stress. I’ve studied these thought patterns and have found 99.9% of them to be repetitive, negative, and patently unhelpful. They don’t support, and they don’t bring joy and celebration.
One day many years ago, I was lying by the pool relaxing in the sun, and I decided to experiment. I brought to mind some common, worrisome thoughts and immediately felt physical tension in my body. Then I shifted attention away from those thoughts, and noticed that after a short time, the tension released. I went back and forth between thought and no thought until the lesson became crystal clear. And the lesson was about how much unconscious stress I had been holding onto, probably for decades.
From that moment on, I lost interest in thinking. Many thoughts still come, but if they are critical, agitating, gloomy, or divisive, I dismiss them. Because I don’t want to pretend that I’m separate from this amazing life that’s here right now.
We take thoughts to be real, but they aren’t. What is a thought? It’s a wisp of energy with words attached. And when we believe the meaning of these words, the thought becomes our reality. Mixed with emotions like fear and anger, the thoughts seem to have a life of their own. We believe the self-doubt, judgments, and fears about the future.
But thoughts are temporary. They are the mind’s feeble attempts to protect and control. Recognizing them and letting them be, we’re free of their meaning and the tension they create. And we’re here, fully alive in this beautiful, uncontrollable, mysterious unfolding.
Get to know the content of your thoughts—not to embellish the stories, but to realize how negative and self-defeating they can be. Feel how these thoughts bring stress to your body.
Check in to see if your thoughts are actually necessary. Don’t pay attention to them and see what happens. You may notice that your life unfolds just fine without that constant, judgmental, complaining commentary. In fact, aren’t you more here and alive without it?
What About You?
To read more, you can purchase At the Core of Every Heart here. Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear them.
And once you read the book, I would be so grateful if you would leave a review on Amazon so others can know about it.
So much love…