We have very active minds… Day in and day out we absorb information and experience thoughts that are cumulative. We have been receiving information since our infancy. These thoughts are influenced by our attitudes and those of people around us. They are cemented with life experience and amplified when we desire control.
When I was in my 20’s a dear friend suggested I pay attention to my thoughts. I never realized how full my mind was with thoughts which were self defeating or irrelevant to life. I was filled with ideas that were counter productive and opinions that allowed for little or no freedom as they were based on the past rather than the present.
Feeling overcome with data, irrelevant opinions and judgments, I decided to pay attention to my thoughts. It did not take me long to realize just how overloaded and distracted my mind had become with years and years of information. I made it a personal goal to quiet my mind and research my thoughts.
I took a radical approach which no one appeared to notice. I treated my thoughts as personal invasions of quiet. I carefully examined my thoughts as they occurred, to decide if they were from the past or present, judgments or observations, or simply random in-the-moment thoughts. Almost every thought was related to the past and most were judgments against someone else! I realized this mind clutter was taking me away from my peace and quiet. Most of all it was distracting me from what I had to do and degrading who I am. I was participating in an internal world which was highly controlled and destructive.
I needed freedom from my thoughts! Clearly, I had to take action so that I could begin to see life differently. As part of this process I became ruthless with my thoughts, dismissing them abruptly if they were outdated. Though this sounds simple, it took me years to begin taming this aggressive lion of a mind. Even today, I still have to take a moment to let the past thoughts and experiences dissipate before responding to more intense situations.
Often I have to work through my emotions in order to become peaceful, before returning to the situation with a response. I make an effort to actively withdraw a thought before offering an opinion or reaction. Sometimes I will work through a situation by writing, in order to get to the essence and have the ability to provide a clear response.
What if we were able to always witness life? Would we be able to separate the wheat from the chaff?