In the early days of TV there was a show called “Truth or Consequences.” If contestants failed to get the right answer to the cleverly disguised question they faced a bizarre consequence such as having to ride a unicycle or balance above a pool of whipped cream.
As I was reflecting on how our thinking works and the amazing power of thought I was reminded of that show. In many ways it can be seen as a metaphor for our experience.
When we’re feeling gripped by a point of view or an idea it’s as if we’re seeing the reality or the truth. Instead, what we’re truly seeing is our personal perception of reality and truth. It’s as if life is a cleverly disguised mystery much like the questions on “Truth or Consequences.” What we make of it is up to us. And what we make of it is what we experience.
There is, within each of us, a beautiful radar that tells us when our thinking is taking us away from our true wisdom. The feeling that accompanies every thought is our signalling device. When we feel anxious or urgent, angry or judgmental, worried or fearful, we can be sure that behind the feeling is some thinking that’s creating this experience. We’ve interpreted an event, either past or present, through insecure lenses.
Our thinking tricks us because it appears to be right, to be real, to be important. There often seems to be genuine logic supporting our thinking. For example, if we’re attending an event at which we know very few people, it could seem quite natural to feel some anxiety. But is it really?
It’s only when we step back and allow our minds to get quiet that we’re able to recognize the true impersonal nature of thought. We’re then able to see all the choices available to us. In the example above, it’s not necessarily natural or logical to feel anxious or fearful in a group of strangers; it’s possible to feel excited, curious, calm or any number of responses.
As we become more sensitive to those feelings, which are our moment-to-moment experience, we realize that they’re the “consequences” of our thinking. They’re the inevitable outcome of a thought. We cannot have an anxious feeling without an attached anxious thought. Similarly we cannot have a calm feeling without a calm quiet mind.
In order to live in a calm feeling more of the time we need only recognize the feeling for what it is—our interpretation of a particular thought and a reflection of our state of mind. If I’m angry or upset it’s my response not the response, to a given event or situation.
We all have the gift of choice. We all have innate resiliency and wisdom. That’s a truth that promises consequences we all seek—to live in well-being more of the time.