It’s interesting to observe the reasons we find for our low moods. We can justify almost all our ups and downs by looking outside ourselves at the circumstances and events in our lives. It may seem perfectly reasonable to accept as fact how we feel is a direct result of what’s happening in our lives. It’s easy to blame our “grumps” on the weather, or on the economy or on whatever “appears” to be the cause of our upset.
But wait! If that were true we’d always be upset when it rained. We’d be unhappy 24/7 if a plan failed. We’d all be at the whim of life events all the time and we know that’s not the case. How is it we’re so predictably unpredictable . . . that we can be guaranteed to be, not only different from each other in our responses, but different than we ourselves were last week or last month or even yesterday?
The answer lies, not as we once imagined, in the outside world, but rather in our inner world . . . the world of thought. This simple yet profound truth leaves us free to choose. We need not settle for a habit of worry or pessimism but can easily opt for a lighter approach. We’re no longer powerless victims but instead, powerful creators. What once seemed like an inevitable response to life is now an opportunity to recognize the possibilities open to us. Our state of mind determines the quality of our experience.
So how do we become aware of our habits? How do we let go of unwanted thoughts? Perhaps the most difficult habit to recognize and thus the most difficult to break is our attachment to our thinking. It’s quite a revolutionary idea to imagine we need not take our thinking so seriously, but rather view it as we’d view a cloud crossing the face of the sun. As we’re able to step back from our thinking and see it with some perspective, we can recognize our habits. Do I have thoughts of judgment or do I see the best in people? Do I tend to see worse case scenarios or am I hopeful and optimistic? We can gauge the quality of our thinking by the feeling that accompanies it. Whether we feel anxious or calm will reveal our state of mind.
Every day we let hundreds of thoughts go. A thought will pop up about an old school friend and it quickly passes. We might remember a certain meal we had while travelling and it’s gone in seconds. Constantly there are random thoughts passing through, many below our awareness. When we see a thought as meaningful and significant, we attach to it and create other thoughts around it. We’re gripped and have created a 3D movie. Eventually we become what’s referred to as “busy minded”. In this state of mind we feel as if we are victims, at the whim of past or current circumstances. That’s when we want to “let it go” and regain a neutral, calm feeling. Only from this place can we access our wisdom and common sense. We’re no longer held hostage by our own creation. We no longer need something or someone to blame.