“A fanatic is one who cannot change his mind and will not change the subject.” - Winston Churchill
“Passion is positive obsession. Obsession is negative passion.” - C. S. Lewis
What do we do when we have a thought that continually over-rides all other thoughts? When someone does something to us that we deem highly inappropriate and we seethe with thoughts of retaliation, when we are working to break an addiction, when we lust for some material object or circumstance, when we are obsessed with placing blame or getting credit – how can we break out of the pattern of that thought constantly impeding and tainting everything else in our life?
One of the first things we become aware of when we learn to meditate is that we are not our thoughts, opinions, attitudes, emotions, desires, judgments or feelings. When we start to observe these things rather than “be” these things we realize we are much deeper – we are deep awareness within, not the mental chatter that goes by in our head. This brings great relief because many of us have tortured ourselves with guilt or shame because of what we consider to be bad thoughts. Our actions define us, and our first reflexive thought when anything happens is almost without exception far from the optimum way to handle a situation. But when this “committee” in our head will give us no peace, and keeps insisting that the IRS is going to audit us, our spouse is leaving us, our business is going to fail, the pain in our toe means we have cancer and are going to die by Tuesday – we need positive action. We cannot think our way into proper thinking in such a state – we must act properly and our thinking will follow.
And even if we have learned to quiet our mind, nothing will yield better results than reaching out to someone who genuinely needs help. Surrounding us are always a myriad of opportunities to assist others with things they are struggling with. We can also remember that we cannot do everything at once, but there is something we can do at once – even if it is some menial task like yard-work, dishes or whatever that can give us some breathing space. We may have a mantra we can repeat to bring ourselves back to center – the Serenity Prayer works for many, and there are others. I know those that swear that when they are disturbed nothing works like getting their hands in the dirt – such as bringing a plant to life or maintaining one that is well established. There are many options, but we must do something. To sit still in our mess will do nothing but drag us deeper into the negativity.
Happy Thursday !!
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