Part of what can be so bothersome and downright terrifying is the incessant, worrisome and fearful thoughts that stream into our minds. It seems at any moment a situation, song, smell, person, news report, etcetera can trigger a chain reaction of thinking that pulls us into anxiety or despair. We have all experienced this. It is the very root of what keeps us trying to control outside circumstances to keep our inner state “in control” or feeling good. It is a situation that cannot work…and it doesn’t.
When we begin to realize that our thoughts are not facts and just because a thought passes through our mind we do not need to engage or act on it – we are stepping onto the path of true freedom. Consider how many times our minds race with worst-case scenario thinking (health care crisis, job loss, relationship issues, and financial troubles). There is likely no area of our lives that has not been touched by obsessive scary thoughts of doom and gloom.
Here is the important question. How often have all of those thoughts that kept us up at night, gave us a knot in our stomach or caused us a whole host of other physical ailments actually happened? We never look it squarely in the eye and call the ego’s bluff in this way (when I use the word “ego” I am referring to our small self, the human part of us that feels limited and vulnerable). If anyone else were giving us advice like this and had such a terrible track record of accuracy, we would have parted ways with them a long time ago. It is time to make the decision to stop believing our ego-driven thinking.
But how do we go about doing this…how do we stop listening to the fearful ego-driven advice and instead take our direction from the inspired voice of our highest selves? The answer is the same as it would be in regards to acquiring any other new skill – such as playing the piano or learning a new language. We continue to practice at it. We don’t expect to be an expert at playing the piano when we show up for lessons on our first day. We understand that the purpose of us investing time into the endeavor is to hone our proficiency and skill in this area.
For some reason we seem to think that doesn’t apply to changing long standing patterns of thinking and behaving. Without the intervention of bringing conscious awareness to the moment in front of us, we will react and respond out of our default mode – and the default mode is always running the same old software. Until we choose to download, install and upgrade our operating system, there is no real change that can occur.
The point of decision is always in the present moment. How can it be anywhere else? We can’t change the past and the future hasn’t happened yet. Our practice ground becomes whatever is in front of us right now – walking the dog, driving the car, getting groceries, cleaning the house, returning a call from a friend, visiting our family. The everyday stuff that fills our lives is the equivalent of going for piano lessons if we choose to accept the mission.
How do we know when the thoughts are from the ego? We know because the thoughts are fear based, critical, excluding, punishing or in other words, they are constrictive. Thoughts from our highest self are the exact opposite and feel expansive, inclusive and never come with scare tactics. When we stop giving attention, engagement and belief to these lower-energy thought patterns they will start to lessen their grip on us. We don’t get rid of troubling thoughts by fighting, repressing, acting on or distracting ourselves from them. These approaches only strengthen their hold on us.
Thoughts have no control over us until we decide to turn our power over to them by believing and engaging with them as though they were true. We get to decide where we put our focus and what we do with our will (meaning our consciously directed attention). It is entirely up to us whether we live our life at the bequest of our lower self or claim our role as a conscious creator. This is what having free will truly means. The great news is that the Universe is ready and willing to support us in this mission. Trust that life has your back. You can make the choice to go forward with enthusiasm and along the way you will discover a brand-new way of meeting each and every moment.