People that let us down. Past injustices. Painful insults. Also, regrets. Painful lessons. Prices. Those are all examples of the types of thoughts that human beings commonly revisit using their memories.
We do this in two ways. One way has us wishing the problem never occurred. The other way has us imagining some set of reactions that would have left us equal to, or better off, than we were before. The problem is, difficulties in life are real, and life goes both up and down.
If we can only manage our psychology during ‘up’ times, then we really can’t manage it at all. It is when we are struggling that our wisdom is the most valuable. And wisdom accepts that we are humans, with egos. And egos will do painful contradictory things.
The suffering is supposed to be our signal to intervene in our ego’s sense of identity and it’s associated course of thought.
If there’s a challenge before us, if we can work on it, we should. If we can’t fix whatever it is, then all that’s left is for us to ‘accept’ reality. Yet, many egos will attempt to do neither by idly wishing for a non-existent path which includes no price.
Whether we’re working to fix things, or are accepting that they cannot be fixed, either way, extra negative thinking does not help. If it was a set of pins and we stuck ourselves hard every time something went ‘wrong,’ we would look insane. But we do the same thing with our thinking and make no effort to stop.
It’s best if our minds are simply taking in the world. But, if we have to think about anything, we are better to think about things that help us to grow or that otherwise energize us. We definitely don’t benefit by repeating old and painful ideas about our lives or ourselves.
Let us commit that this week, we will be on watch for old, negative patterns of thinking and that any time we feel that pain, we should ask ourselves how practical our thinking is.
If we find that we are engaged in courses of thought that only exist for their own sake, we are better to divert our consciousness to anything neutral or positive. Otherwise that negativity can drain our lives of value.
Fortunately, positivity is just as easy and we grow from it. We just have to get in the habit of more consciously choosing our courses of thought. That is 100% do-able. Let’s start today.
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.