Most of us think that our thoughts are ours. We think (and maybe ‘think’ is the wrong word to use, but as I can’t ‘think’ of any others you’ll have to put up with it) that these thoughts that we think belong to us and are personal to us and only us. But, that isn’t really true at all. What you find if you really look at it is that really we just repeat a lot of mindless thought patterns. That is to say that we really don’t think at all a lot of the time.
If you can actually watch your thoughts you realize that there is the You who is seeing the thoughts as they arise. And there is a background awareness that is impartial to the sea of thoughts that go floating by.
It’s only when we get so immersed in them that we tangle them up with the truth of Who We Really Are.
The term ego is used a lot these days. The ego isn’t really an entity at all. It’s a collection of repetitive thought patterns and beliefs that we take to be us. Beliefs start almost as soon as we can understand language. Our parents fill us with their ideas about life and how they see it. They are usually only trying to help us, but their viewpoint on life may be severely limited as a lot of their own beliefs would’ve been fed to them via their parents and their viewpoint may also have been limited. We then get more input via our school teachers and also the media. But again this is often a restricted attitude.
An example of this may be something simple such as ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, which we all know isn’t a literal statement, but when this is told to you over and over then eventually this will sink in and become one of your own beliefs regarding money. Up to the age of about 8 or 9 children’s minds are like a sponge soaking up all the information around them. If you can imagine when you were that age and a parent or teacher told you something, you’d believe them without question wouldn’t you?
So if they tell you that -
Money doesn’t grow on trees, or
I’m not made of money, or
We can’t afford that, or
Money is the root of all evil, or
We’ll have to tighten our belts if we want that.
I’m sure you can add your own personal favorites, but even by that half a dozen you can see how, as a child, if you are hearing that kind of dialogue about money then you are surely going to have very negative connotations about it.
My dad very rarely worked after he and my mum divorced. I remember clearly that he would often refer to money as being a ‘pain’. I’m sure for him it was as he wasn’t able to give his children the things he wanted to or to do the things that he wanted. I realized at some point in my own life that I also viewed money as a pain. I also understood that if I viewed the acquisition of money as painful then on a sub-conscious level I’d be likely to shy away from ever having too much. As the sub-conscious mind is where all the power is then it would be probable that it would try to keep money out of my experience as I had made the association that to have it would lead to some form of suffering.
This is merely one example out of many, but you can clearly see how beliefs and thought systems are passed from generation to generation. So we would then have to question how much of the stuff that we think as individuals really does comes from us?
When any thought comes to us that we don’t wish to entertain, then we must realize that we have the power to either change it or not give it any energy. What I’ve found from my own investigations in this area is that if you do indulge in negative thoughts, then the initial thought seems to have plenty of mates who he is happy to invite into your mind space and they all are of a similar caliber. They are all destructive and what we think will create our reality, which is why a lot of us have negative lives. Negative thoughts will equal a negative reality.
Something else that also seems to happen (to me anyway) is that, let’s say I’m speaking to somebody who for some reason I don’t particularly get on with. The strange thing is that when I’m actually talking with them face-to-face I do get along well with them. However, later on when I’m in my car driving home, my mind maybe drifts back over the conversation and finds faults that weren’t there in reality and before I know it a negative thought has phoned all his pals and told them there is a negative party in my head and do they want to come over.
Well of course they’d love to and they have other friends that they can also bring along too. This then becomes a block between you and another. It means that you feel estranged from another because of an illusion. You have to maintain your awareness as much as you can to catch these negative patterns.
When you are speaking with others is especially important. Try to keep your mind on what you are saying. When the other person is talking try focusing on your breathing, so that you stay present and alert.
Another very simple technique is to just change the unhappy thought to a happy one. If a particular thought comes in that you don’t want always remember that You have the power to change it. A lesson in A Course In Miracles is ‘my thoughts do not mean anything‘. You can use this by adding the thought that is distressing you – i.e My thought about (insert your thought) does not mean anything.
Again, by applying this particular technique you find that the energy is taken away from the thought that is bothering you. If you let thoughts invade your mind without discernment then you will be missing what is actually going on in the present moment. You are lost to reality and you are dwelling in either the past or the future. However, neither of these places are real. The past is already gone so can’t be changed and the future is yet to happen. Therefore you are living in a false reality when you spend your time in either location.
For More thoughts from Terry visit his blog: MindStar.org