Day 188: You Can Change How You Think!

These days, I spent a lot of time examining my own thoughts, with the mind to focus myself on those that feel good, and ignore or de-focus on hose that don’t. More and more I am seeing benefit from it. For instance, today I caught my head doing a trip on myself. I found it hard to focus on what I was doing, a recording project for a show I’m working on. My head was coming down hard on me for “not being perfect.” I noticed that I was feeling groggy and cloudy-headed. I felt like taking a nap.

Instead, I had a conversation with myself. “What exactly have I done to deserve this guilt-trip, this beating up? And is this helping me in any way?” The cool thing is, this line of questioning actually helped. I immediately felt lighter and clearer. It is as if my head heard me out and said, “You know what? You are right. Maybe beating you up over this is not such a good idea.”

It’s nice to think that my head is responsive to reason. Believe me, I have a lot of experience tolerating negative head trips. I now realize that I did this mostly because I forgot that I had a choice. Those negative thoughts had become so normal, I forgot that I was the one who put them in place!

While I can’t say I’m completely in control of them, I am seeing more and more influence over them. I still think it’s amazing how hard it can be to change our thoughts. Those old habits have been there for so long, it just feels normal. Even when the thoughts feel shitty… again, shitty can become the new normal. And like the proverbial frog in the pot, you boil up in the water and don’t even notice!

Today, my own progress with my thinking helps remind me that I don’t have to settle for self-imposed suffering. Feeling bad does not have to be the norm! I am learning how much it is the result of the thoughts I allow to influence my own mind. I find that it takes a lot of attention, a lot of mental effort to get conscious of what is going on up there. Yet it inevitably pays off.

I think that most of the time, people think that life is just “happening” to them. Too often, they don’t think enough about their own point of view, and how much that affects what it is that they experience in life. All too often, we focus on the circumstances we are in, the things that happen to us… but don’t focus enough on who is doing the viewing, who is doing the perceiving and experiencing. We are so used to our own point of view, we have forgotten that it is just that: a point of view! And there are as many possible points of view as their own people. And each person can shift their own point of view by what they choose to focus on.

The fact is, we have habits of thought. We get used to focusing on certain types of things. But does that focus serve us? Is it satisfying? Does it bring joy? Or does it cause stress and unhappiness? What are the effects upon our mood and disposition of our habitual ways of thinking? These are the types of question I have been asking myself, and I am already seeing the fruits, in terms of greater sensitivity and awareness of how my own thinking plays a role in my experience.

It may not be easy, but I am learning that if your thinking isn’t serving you, you can change it!

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