Ever feel like you're being held hostage by the endless thought stream going through your head? Telling you that you can't, you shouldn't or it can't be done or why bother?
That used to be my dilemma. I would get so caught up in worrying or imagining a scary future or regretting things I'd done in the past that I would end up unable to forge ahead with any ideas I had inspired me before the thoughts came storming in.
For instance, if I was in a business situation, I'd come up with some great ideas but before long I'd become full of self doubt or overly concerned about who would like it and whether it would work, instead of just following the bouncing ball of my initial impulse.
Or if I were trying to paint, I'd often be wracked with thoughts about what others would think of, would it sell, does it really reflect who I am? Argh!
I used to think I had to do something about those pesky thoughts that were stopping me from the joy and satisfaction of creating something new. I learned lots of ways to tap them away, recite affirmations, or use a lot of different techniques to minimize the impact those limiting thoughts were having on me. That was a lot of work, and although it did sometimes temporarily allowed me to move ahead it didn't feel like freedom. It felt like work.
Finally it began to seem counterintuitive to me. Why would we have to work at monitoring or eliminating thoughts? We have no control over what thoughts come into our minds to begin with and sooner or later they leave without our permission or dismissal anyway. So I peeked behind the curtain to see what was really going on.
Our culture places an inordinate amount of emphasis on developing our intellects. We all know the value that's been placed on a strong intellect, logic and superior analytical skills. Those are necessary for many different kinds of work so in and of itself, there's nothing wrong with that - unless it's at the expense of our own intelligence, that holistic, gut instinct for knowing the next right move.
So obviously some thoughts are useful and others just aren't. And we know the difference when there's a sense of contraction or limitation that seems personal to us - a reflection on our ability to do, be or have. It's the ones that limit us that we try to use those analytical skills to try to dismantle. And that gets us into trouble.
What we resist persists.
I began to see that there were fundamentally two types of thoughts. The kind that were practical and useful and the kind that were not. I definitely didn't want to be stopped by the thoughts that simply said "no" and were accompanied by memories that appeared to prove their validity.
Don't we all long for a free mind, where we can walk in the field of possibility and adventure, where we naturally know to avoid the plants that are potentially harmful and enjoy the ones that have beauty, give off a beautiful fragrance and leave us feeling deeply alive and open to life?
When we label our thoughts as dangerous we automatically try to do something about them. But what if no thought is inherently dangerous? What if thoughts are like shadows that pass through our minds, and it's only our temporary insecurity or self doubt that turns those shadows into looming monsters that threaten our well being?
That doesn't mean we should just get rid of our insecurity because isn't that the question we're trying to address in the first place? If we want to have a free mind, it's useful to have an open door policy. Since we can't keep thoughts out, we _can_ leave the back door open, noticing when they enter, dressed up in scary Halloween costumes, but not taking them too seriously, not leaving out treats for them, and making sure they know where the back door is.
We all have an inner knowing about which thoughts are worth paying attention to and which are not. It's only when we habitually give them power to become three- dimensional monsters that we lose our sense of well being. And we can just as easily take that power back once we know it's not necessary.
A free mind is a beautiful thing. Yours is that way naturally. You can reclaim it, starting now.