Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about how much people have on their minds and how stressed people, in general, seem to be. I certainly understand. I notice that the more I have on my mind, the more stressed I feel. When I have a lot on my mind, I don’t sleep well, I worry more, and I feel a general sense of dis-ease and fogginess.
I also notice that the less I have on my mind, the more relaxed I am and the more life seems to flow naturally. When I have less on my mind, I tend to feel more content and little things don’t bother me. I even notice that big things don’t bother me as much. Have you noticed this, too?
It occurs to me that I have some measure of control over how much is on my mind. I don’t mean to say that I can keep thoughts from coming into my mind. Not a chance. I do mean to say that I have some control over whether or not I hold that thought in my mind in a fixed way. “We have a thought and the next moment the thought moves on—unless we hold it in our minds. When we hold thoughts in our mind in a fixed position, we turn thought into form, and into experience (Elsie Spittle).”
When we hold thoughts in our mind in a fixed way, we are going to experience them. That’s just the way the human system works. “The mind works like a virtual reality generator – whatever we think about seems real to us for as long as we're thinking it; the more we think about it, the more real it seems (Michael Neill).”
I had a client say to me today that she realized that she had bought into the thought that she was stuck and so she started to feel stuck. Once she understood that she was feeling her thinking, she was able to recognize that she wasn’t stuck at all! She just felt stuck. Great insight!
That’s how it works. We have thoughts that we buy into and the ones we string together become beliefs that we live by. For example, “I am not as smart as those around me, therefore, I’m inferior and I can’t be successful. There is no point in even trying. I’ll just get by and that’ll be good enough.” That’s a belief I had for decades. The virtual generator of my mind made that belief feel absolutely real and I lived it as if it were real. But it’s not real! It’s made up. Once we understand that we are experiencing our thinking, not what’s happening out there, then our fixed thinking begins to dissolve and we see clearly again.
The other night I was out to dinner with some friends. We each had some thinking about our server. I thought she was sweet and pleasant though a tad distracted. One friend thought she was doing a poor job but wasn’t too bothered by it. Another thought she was horrible, didn’t want to tip, and was quite agitated by the whole scene. The last one didn’t seem to give her any thought at all. Not one of us actually experienced the woman. We experienced our thinking about the woman. The ones in our group who had the most thinking about her being a bad server had very unpleasant dining experiences. The rest of us didn’t.
Chantel Burns says, “Our feelings are like a temporary weather system moving through us. We don’t have to take our thoughts or feelings seriously just as we don’t have to take a cloudy day seriously.” This understanding has been a game changer for me. I believed that I had to take every thought and feeling seriously. Talk about drama! Now I realize that thought is simply moving through me and I can choose to fix on it or not. When I don’t take it so seriously and personally, it’s free to move along in its own time. I’m much calmer, more content, and I have more clarity as a result.
Thought is a gift. It’s how we create our lives. The thoughts we fix upon become our experience. If we fix on the negative, we’ll experience negative. If we fix on the positive, we’ll experience positive. Yes, this is true even in extremely difficult and challenging situations. There are countless people who know this: Viktor Frankl who survived the holocaust, Helen Keller who was blind and deaf, Stephen Hawking who lost all muscle control and the ability to speak, and many more. We think of these people as extraordinary, but they are no more extraordinary than you and I. They simply did not fix on the thoughts that said they were doomed. Instead, they returned to the clear blue sky of their essential selves and allowed the discouraging weather system to move along.
You and I can do the same. Once we understand how our mind works, we are free to allow stressful thoughts to move on through us. We no longer have to judge, analyze, control, or manage them. They are not us. They are the temporary weather system. We are the clear blue sky of clarity and wellbeing.
If this blog post resonates with you or if you’d like to explore a new perspective on how to have less on your mind so that you experience more clarity, peace, and wellbeing, I’m opening up a couple of times on my calendar this week for the first two people who respond, at no charge to you. Contact Me