September 21, 2013

Psst! We Don’t Have to Believe Our Thoughts.

Photo: Minoru Nitta

A zillion thoughts pass through our minds every day.

I’ve heard numbers ranging from 30,000 to 100,000, but hey, who’s counting? Whatever the number, we have way more thoughts than we can possibly think into.

Which begs the question, do we need to believe what we think?

Given the impossibility of the task, I think not.

We don’t need to believe what we think. Ever.

Thought flows.

Thoughts come and go continually without help from us. Unless and until we take them personally, they pass through our minds like so much dandelion fluff.

What this means is that we don’t have to get rid of negative thoughts or seek out positive ones. In fact, as you may have noticed, trying to get rid of a negative thought gives it life. And trying to think a positive thought can be maddening, as thoughts simply don’t behave.

Fortunately, positive thinking is also unnecessary. Based on the above numbers, somewhere between 31 and 104 thoughts will be along in the next minute. But again, who’s counting?

What it means on Monday morning.

Okay, so what’s the point?

We don’t need to take what we think personally. We can have anxious thoughts about marketing without needing to believe that marketing is anxiety-provoking.

That bears repeating.

We can have anxious thoughts about marketing—or whatever—without needing to believe that marketing—or whatever—is anxiety provoking.

When we meet an anxious thought with the realization that it is a thought, just a thought, our natural tendency is toward a peaceful feeling. Or curiosity. Or both.

After all, what if marketing is not inherently anxiety-provoking?

It’s a thought!

What are you believing?

We experience and manifest our innate well-being not by having better thoughts, but by realizing that we think at all. With that insight we can begin to notice our thoughts and exercise our free will as to which of them to believe.


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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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