Last week we started to explore the idea that we can choose our thoughts and that when we choose the things we think, it either increases or decreases our love for ourselves, for our children and our general well-being.
But how? HOW can we choose these things, I’m usually asked?
Let me use an analogy of radio stations. Radio stations transmit their frequencies all the time – regardless of whether you have tuned into them or not. So they are available to you all the time. All you need to do is tune to that specific frequency and you can hear their music and their message. If I’m listening to one station it’s legitimate. It doesn’t mean the others aren’t also there at the same time and available to me if I turn my dial to their frequency.
So back to where we began. Our thoughts and feeling are all streaming at the same time. They are all available to you all the time. If your thoughts and feelings are your choice – which you may not have realised until now (and may be doubting even now as you read) –take a moment to consider which you choose for yourself? How do you usually think and feel? If you loved yourself, would you choose these same thoughts and feelings or would you change some?
We don’t realise we have choice in this. Most of the time we feel like our thoughts think us rather than the other way around. I’m being thunked right now. Mindfulness meditation is one of the ways to learn about your thoughts. It is a meditation practice based on observing our thoughts without engaging with them. People will guide this meditation by saying things like say, “Let your thoughts float through your mind like clouds passing you in the sky. Bigger ones, smaller ones, light ones, dark ones, funny ones, inspiring ones… simply notice them and let them pass by.”
When we do this we become familiar with our thought habits. We may notice that we have more dark thoughts than other kinds, for example. The trick is not to engage. If you make eye contact and start to talk to a thought it can stick around longer – sometimes for a lifetime! If you engage with it, you are assigning it importance so you keep it with you. If a thought won’t leave you, it’s because you are attached to it in some way. You judge it to be relevant and important somehow – in a good or bad way. Maybe you feel proud – or horrified – that a thought like that popped into your mind. So the thought has become important to you in some way. As you keep pulling it out and fiddling with it again, it can’t float away.
If you become aware of this, you can choose to let the thought become irrelevant to you and let it go. Each time it comes you simply see it and let it pass without judgement. Soon it will stop coming round.
This is choice. So you have choice in your thoughts and your thoughts affect how you feel.
All the thought and feeling options are streaming at the same time, available to you.
So ask yourself now, “If I loved myself, what would I choose to think now?”
(Click here to read part 1 of this article)