I've said it before.
You have too.
Assessing the situation is necessary to make our next move but the tag we put on it does us harm.
Instantly we adopt a particular mindset that won't be helpful. Problem is that it happens instantly.
You probably did it as you read the title. You definitely did it as you looked at the picture on the right.
Our critical mind judges in an instant.
We play ‘devil’s advocate’ and call it ‘reality’.
This process was originally designed to save your life in the form of an adrenaline surge when we were flooded with fear after hearing a lion’s roar. It demanded our attention and jolted us out of our daily chores.
Makes sense so far.
Later, we detected situations where danger was likely and the same thoughts entered our conscious mind. Then adrenalin.
Just like Pavlov’s dog, we found ourselves sweating as we entered the scene of our last encounter.
But it helped us to survive. Being smarter than the average bear, the signs and signals of danger made a permanent imprint on our minds and we gained control over most situations.
This permanent imprint now follows us and creates it’s own havoc today. With few situations that threaten to cull our population, the thought process continues. It means we remember the negative more than the positive.
We need to un-learn this, but not completely as it still has value.
So where to now?
We need perspective. And a story to illustrate the process that is necessary.
The Monk And The River
Two monks were walking on a narrow trail near the base of the Tian Shan Mountains, in Northern China. They had both taken a vow of celibacy and silence. Mile after mile they consciously walked without talking. After a while they came to a shallow river. At the bank of the river was a beautiful young girl who was looking for a crossing. As the monks approached, the first monk picked her up, carried her across the river, put her down and continued walking. The other monk was exasperated and after sometime could hold back no more. He exclaimed, “How could you do that? How could you pick up that beautiful young girl?”
The other monk replied, “My friend, I put her down on the bank of the river. Why are you still carrying her?
It’s Not That Hard.
So like the monk, we need to drop mental baggage when we decide it is not necessary.
Deciding on the validity of a thought can happen in a split second. Without energy. The trick is to smile as you do it.
Smile? Yes, smile. Well maybe not on the outside but on the inside.
You see, we may not have the ability to stop a thought from entering our head, but we sure can decide on whether or not it is useful.
Here is an example:
Imagine waking up from a nightmare. As we realise we were asleep, our logic says, “It was just a dream’. We instantly relax and smile. The same process can help us weed out negative thoughts.
“Ah, it’s just anger.”
“Ah, it’s just fear.”
“Ah, it’s just negativity.”
"Ah, it's just excitement."
Labelling thoughts puts them in a box and allows us to move to something that will help us act appropriately. You have enough to think of anyway. You have decisions to make about your next move. No need to clog it up with emotional responses that only make the situation worse.
As the saying goes, 'Feel the fear and do it anyway.'
Your next thought will come whether you like it or not.
It just did then.
“Wake up. It’s just dream.”
"The Power Of Now".
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