In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being. – Eckhart Tolle
Have you ever felt that you go through your life in a state of semi-hypnosis?
Have you ever driven home from work, opened your front door and asked yourself how you got there? We all get the opportunity to experience and feel wonder every day but we’ve been lulled into numbness – desensitized to really feeling… and we become blind to really seeing.
Anything we do on a regular basis becomes automated. Our thoughts and our behaviors get relegated to auto-pilot and we literally stop paying attention. In some cases, that’s okay. I mean, we don’t really need to be fully involved in everything we do every day. If you had to think about every single motor movement that went into toweling yourself off after a shower, you’d be there all day.
It’s easy to get lulled into the auto-pilot mode because of its incredible efficiency. Every nuance of every movement has become so familiar.
But on the other hand, we miss out on so much when we aren’t here, now.
While our AMAZING brains are busy orchestrating every movement that gets us from the car to the front door – or even a mile or two down a familiar stretch of road – our thoughts are either stuck in the past, or racing ahead to the future.
Spinning your wheels in the past does you no good. You can’t have a do-over. You can’t re-live even one second of it, you can’t fix it, you can’t undo what you’ve done or said.
Racing ahead to the future may seem like a good thing to do, because after all it’s the thoughts you hold persistently that create the future – but when you’re projecting current problems onto the future, you automatically infuse it with worry and negativity.
So what’s the solution?
Not doing, but being.
Being wrapped up in the past prevents us from being present. “Who cares?,” you might wonder. What’s the big deal about being present?
Well, look at your life as the results of every single choice you have ever made. When you think about the past, you probably regret some choices, and congratulate yourself on others. So intuitively, you KNOW that your choices weren’t always the best ones for you.
That’s both humbling and empowering. Right now, in this moment, you can become aware of the automatic thought habits you have – the auto-pilot thoughts that judge and categorize your life into “good”, “bad”, etc. And in this moment, you can deliberately choose better thoughts. Thoughts that, if repeated often enough, will become part of your new “operating system” of automatic thoughts.
It’s not enough to do that once. It takes consistency and persistence, and it’s a wonderful way to use your meditation time.
When you sit down to meditate, just let your mind wander around for a while. Observe it. Then, when your mind comes up with a thought that you know doesn’t serve you – for example, “I’m always broke!” deliberately change it. You can use this as a point of focus because believe me, your mind is going to become rather argumentative about any new idea you introduce.
So instead of being frustrated about your now even chattier mind, use your inner resistance to a new idea (such as “I am finding new ways to increase my income”) as a point of focus. Just keep returning to that thought, over and over and over, until it becomes automatic.
That is the POWER you hold in the present moment – to introduce, and reinforce, the thoughts that become thought HABITS… habits that will determine the quality of your life in many ways.