Day 207: Is it the thing itself, or our thinking about the thing?

It’s so easy to imagine that people, places, and things outside ourselves determine how we experience our lives. “He said this!” and “This happened, and so therefore I feel like this.” More and more I see that it’s not the circumstances but our thinking about those circumstances, and about ourselves especially, that determines what we make them mean and how we feel about them.

Is something good or bad?. What is the true meaning, say, of a slice of cake? Is it good or is it bad? That varies from situation to situation, from individual to individual. How does it feel to you right now? That’s what matters. You might say, “Oh it’s delicious, but I feel guilty about eating it.” So there’s joy of good food, but also guilt of doing something you think you shouldn’t do. But is it the cake that is truly bad, or is it your opinion characterizing it that way?

Is it the thing itself, or our thinking about the thing?

To quote Shakespeare: “Nothing is good or but bad thinking makes it so.”

Case in point: this morning I could detect negative thinking in my head. It did not feel good. But was it “reality?” After writing about it, I realized that I was tormenting myself with negative, judgmental thoughts about myself. The moment I realized that they were just thoughts, they started to lose their power.

But before that, I couldn’t help but get confused. Negative thoughts distorted how I experienced reality.

But it wasn’t “reality,” after all. It was my thoughts that pointed me in a direction that didn’t feel good.

Our current thoughts don’t have to define our reality. Thoughts are, after all, just thoughts. You can train your brain to detect when your thoughts are off course, and reach instead for thoughts that are on course. You do this by caring about how you feel, as Abraham explains. If you feel off, there’s probably something off in your thinking.

By getting attuned to how your very thoughts are shaping your experience, you can re-shape that experience to one that feels good. You can reshape your very “reality.” 🙂

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