Your mind is wild, untamed, and organic in nature. Thoughts rise and fall like waves in your imagination. Memories play in the theatre of your awareness as your mind wonders into the future, like a child lost in a Bizarre. The question is: What will your experience be, one of panic or of wonderment?
Your mind is a beautiful tool. It helps you solve problems, presents you with options, and imagines the possibilities. It offers you myriad paths to follow, some of which will help you reach your goals. You mind is wild, unpredictable, creative, and complex. It loves to identify, label, compare and categorize. It seeks out patterns and makes predictions – and it does all of these things automatically, whether you prefer it to or not.
Understanding the nature of your mind and creating a peaceful and prosperous co-existence with it, is one of the goals of the Thoughtfulness Practice. The first step is accepting and acknowledging the dynamic nature of your very creative human mind. Know that having thoughts is not a problem, especially when you consider the alternative. Having an adverse relationship with your thoughts can cause you to suffer needlessly.
The good news is, there are ways to change your relationship with your thoughts that will liberate your emotions from the burden of over thinking.
Why is it, that certain thoughts seem to create a stronger internal reaction than others? It all has to do with Associations. Your mind is constantly making connections between things, ideas, and feelings. You meet someone for the first time who reminds you of someone with whom you’ve had some conflict, some unpleasant feelings, and you immediately feel those negative emotions, even though you have no history with the person standing in front of you.
We’ve all experienced having a certain type of emotional reaction to a person, place, or situation that shares some similarity with another experience from our past. Why does this happen? It’s simply your mind making connections, looking for patterns, exploring possibilities, and making associations between things.
Remember: Your mind is a network of memories and those memories trigger emotions. When one aspect of your mind is stimulated, other areas are as well. Thoughts about one thing ignite thoughts and feelings about other things. We know this to be true. An examination of your own thought process will confirm this.
Because our minds are making associations between things that are similar, the energies or emotions we experience along with those things are also drawn into our experience.
Because we cannot control this process, we sometimes have strong reactions to what we think of as a single event. In reality, it may be a new and unique event, but because our minds are always looking for connections, patterns, and similarities, we experience it along with the memories and emotions of many experiences, some which may carry with them undesirable or unsettling emotions. The more associations our mind makes, the more likely we are to have an intense experience of something. This is your neural-network in action.
What are we to do with our wild and uncontrollable minds? How do we stop this process so we’re not reminded of past trauma? How do we control our thinking?
Your mind is designed to be wild, to be creative, to make associations. This is what makes you human. Don’t make the mistake of viewing the way you are designed as wrong. Taking this position will only cause you greater hardship and suffering.
Accept your mind the way it is. Evolution is not about suppression, it’s about creating better relationships. If your mind is wild, accept that it is wild and work with it the way it is. Observe your mind like you would a natural landscape. Do you try to stop the wind from blowing? Do you try to make the birds fly in a particular path. Do you try to make the flowers show specific colors? Of course not. Why take the same approach with your mind?
Let go. Let your mind do what it wants. When a thought creates an emotion, observe that it did and accept it. You don’t have to believe that these associations are true or even valid. This is your mind at play, exploring, creating, and connecting things. Your mind loves to do this. Let it play. Let the emotions come up. Expect that they will. Know that they are remnants from past experiences, not your current experience.
Just because your mind creates an association between things, doesn’t mean that the association is true or even relevant. The person standing in front of you is who they are in this moment and no one else. The words of a stranger are not the words of your parent. The feelings you have now are not the feelings you had as a child. Know that your mind could be adding the weight of past trauma to your present experience through the instantaneous associations it makes.
Remember that ‘this experience’ is not ‘that experience,’ even if your mind is playing with the possibility. What is your current experience? It is what is happening in this moment and nothing else. Yes, part of your experience is what you think and feel, but that is your subjective world. Tune into your objective world by engaging your sense more than your mind, and you will likely find peace, tranquility, and love.
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