You’re freaking out because of what you’re thinking about.
I re-read my notes from a live stream I did the other day and this phrase jumped out at me. “I’m freakin out because of what I’m thinkin about!”. Not only does it rhyme (who doesn’t love a good rhyme??), but it serves as an easy reminder that so often the suffering we are experiencing, which we place blame on the external world for creating, is really due to the thoughts we are entertaining in our heads. Thoughts of what could or should happen. Thoughts of what others might think of us. Thoughts of what circumstances MEAN about us. Not to say all suffering or negative thoughts are entirely self-created. Not by FAR. Certainly situations or people can trigger us. I get triggered all the time and it seems SO real! And of course, there are situations of real abuse and atrocity. What I am referring to is the ordinary day to day suffering we call life.
It is telling that no matter what your circumstances are, you can experience incredible suffering OR incredible happiness. There can be two people with identical external circumstances, and one person can be happy and the other, miserable. What is the difference between the two? I would bet all the money I don’t have, that it is the habitual attitudes, or thoughts they practice, which determines who they are in the world. This tells us that the internal game is incredibly important.
So what is the internal game? In short, it is the ever running dialogue we are having with ourselves. The first step is recognizing what game you are already running. This internal game creates who you are in the world. In a sense, what we commonly think of as “me” is really just a set of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that we have become accustomed to. Even if that personality amounts to you being an asshole, we can count on it, so its comfortable and feels like safety. Not to worry, if you are an asshole, there is hope! HA! Many of the factors that make up our personality are NOT set in stone.
What if we decided to practice a new set of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors? What if we memorized positive self-regard, hopeful optimism, and benefit of the doubt? Wouldn’t then enthusiasm, trust and peace become our new “autopilot” and become our new sense of self? Does that seem like you would be acting or faking it? Maybe, at first. The interesting thing is we are already acting. We just may be acting out a part that we have outlived and no longer suits our aims. Might as well try on a new part!
It may seem like our thoughts just HAPPEN and are beyond our control. But you CAN choose more of your thoughts more of the time. Nothing is 100% effective, of course. The question becomes, how much of every day are we consciously curating our thoughts? How much of the day are we on automatic, simply rehearsing old thoughts and emotions over and over again and mistaking them for who we are? Whatever you practice you get good at. If you practice thoughts of self-hate, worry, or negative futurizing then you are going to get so good at running those thoughts that there won’t have to be an external source for the resulting anxiety, fear, and depression.
So, how? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, PRACTICE. Literally, take note of what thoughts you find yourself engaged in. If they are empowering to yourself and others and cause you to act in ways that are beneficial to your life, keep it up. If they are disempowering or cause you to act in ways that are detrimental to your life or relationships, kick them to the curb! You don’t have to waste energy tracing where these negative thoughts came from or trying to make them stop. You can only focus on one thing at once, so if you change gears and invent some better thoughts, they will dominate your awareness and naturally replace the old bullhonky. The next step is to ACT from this new seat of awareness. The action wires in the new autopilot. Before you know it, you will be acting differently and have different results.. hell, maybe even different friends. It all comes down to this. How well are you curating your inner landscape? Are you tending to the weeds and only planting things that benefit your garden? If you want a bounteous garden, be a dutiful gardner.
Maybe you have heard all this before. Here is the obvious truth, a truth I missed for a looooong time. You can read all the books and go to all the seminars, but if you don’t actually practice what you learn and ground your knowledge into being, then nothing will change. You will just be the same old person with enough knowledge to pretend to know more than your friends and have an impressive bookcase. SO, yes, read all the books (I am currently reading “breaking the habit of being yourself” by Dr. Joe Dispenza) and go to all the seminars, but for crying out loud PRACTICE! Only when you practice long enough to feel the feelings associated with thinking differently and take action accordingly, will the new you become grounded in reality and your new default automatic setting. This is real stuff, people! Not just woo-woo. It’s grounded in neuroscience and needless to say, I am super duper excited about it. 😉
In closing, next time you find yourself freaking out, ask yourself, “what am I thinking about?” The gold is inside YOU and so is ALL the power.
Tally Ho, my friends!!
Originally published at www.deepandlight.com on September 11, 2018.