Our thoughts dart about all the time. They are anchored in some beginning and therefore when we search for where they came from, we inevitably find more thoughts. Almost like a holographic puzzle, our thought stream presents pieces that, although often unrecognizable, nevertheless are rooted in some story, and central to these stories is our self. Our interpretations of others, of all stimuli, our every perception, internal and external, are a representation of a thought linked in a storyboard of thoughts connected to our self-image. Like our beliefs, there is no such thing as a thought that arises without a history.
Unfortunately we often take our thoughts all together too seriously. We can tend to make them real and thereby turn our fears into physical reactions, imposing our thoughts on our bodies, causing alarms to sound within, adrenaline, cortisol, and other neuro-chemicals to rush into the system, and so forth. Sometimes this occurs in low doses and then we call it stress as opposed to a full-blown fight/flight response.
While thoughts have a creative power, that is only so if we invest in them. When we accept our thoughts of limitation, of fear, of anger, of revenge and so forth as real, we run a great risk.
Thoughts as Real?
Tara Brach tells a story designed to illustrate how we should not take our thoughts as real. It seems that a couple in Michigan were going to take a vacation to Florida because it’d been a really long cold winter. However, they couldn’t both leave on the same day, so they agreed he would fly on Thursday, and she would fly on Friday. He arrived and discovered that the Hotel had public computers, so he decided to send his wife an email. He did not realize that he had one letter wrong in the email address when he sent it.
Meanwhile, far away, another woman just returned home from her husband’s funeral. Her husband was a minister and he had died of a sudden heart attack while delivering an exhilarating awakening sermon at a revival meeting. The widow decided to check her email and see what kind of email had come from family and friends. When she read the first email, she fainted and fell to the floor. Her son ran in to see what happened and this is what he saw on the computer screen:
Sure Is Hot
To: My dear wife
Subject: I have arrived
Message: I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They now have computers here and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I have just arrived and been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then. Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here!
You can see that if we take our stories literally, if we allow words to be real, they can have an immediate impact. One of the reasons I developed the InnerTalk technology was to desensitize the negative replacing it with a positive stream of self-talk. This changes our expectations, which in turn alters our perceptions and thereby enriches our experiences. Now that may not cool “how hot it is,” but it will help you change the context!
As always, thanks for the read.