What’s bothering you? Look at it closely. Most things that bother most people are things in their past. Things that have already happened. Things they can do nothing about. And yet they obsessively choose to think about them in some vain attempt to have the interior world of their thoughts impact an exterior world from days, weeks, months or even years ago. This is the current insanity of society. Everyone suffers from the illness of over-thinking.
Understand: you cannot fix the past with your thoughts, and while you’re dwelling there your present is being left unattended. To be able to properly focus on now you need to be able to let go of yesterday.
Let us look at this act of letting-go. What is it exactly? What is the verb of letting something go? Because we don’t really let anything go. There’s not something within us that we have to exorcise. We don’t have to eject or expel our past. But we do have to stop engaging in the verb of recreating it in our present moments.
First we must understand that there is no time other than Now. You can’t do things two weeks ago and you can’t do something later today. You will always act in the Now. That is the only time you are alive and this is a hard fact in your life. So if you’re thinking about events in the past then you are necessarily living in ego and you are absolutely not present for Now.
What this means is, you are blinded to the events happening around you while you invest your Now’s in re-creating the past within your interior, personal thoughts. As you think these thoughts you will be requesting chemistry from your brain. You will be asking for the chemicals for excitement, or sadness, or anger, or betrayal etc.
This chemistry and the feelings they create within you will have absolutely nothing to do with who or what you’re thinking about. It’s not the subject of your thoughts that counts. It’s the tone. So if you’re happy for someone else that’ll feel just like being happy for yourself. And if you’re angry at someone else then you’ll feel that anger as your own. The person you’re thinking about will be doing the exact same thing. They won’t feel your thoughts. They’ll feel their thoughts. And those probably don’t have anything to do with you.
Get conscious. Stop thinking without paying attention to your thoughts. That is where you live. It’s like a fish being more concerned with the house its bowl is in, rather than the health of the water it’s swimming in. The house is the outside world. The fish has no control over that, but it can certainly have some say over how much it craps in its own water.
Think of that water as your consciousness. And think of your actions within that water as your thoughts. You can either swim to the sides and look out with the equanimity of knowing that what’s outside the tank does not impact the inside of the tank, or you can look at the events outside the tank and you can react with some crappy thinking within the tank of your consciousness. Either way, it’s your water.
Stop messing up your own head with dirty thinking. Quiet your mind and enjoy the swim. Because in the end, that’s all there is. And if you look at it the right way, that is more than enough.
As you go through your day, ask yourself: what am I currently doing? Am I swimming, or am I filling my head with crap? Because every fish has to crap every now and then just to stay healthy. At the same time, there’s something not entirely healthy about crapping on the world all day long just by choice.
Choose your thoughts carefully. Do that simply because you’ve come to truly understand that your thoughts are where you actually experience your life.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.