Until we learn the art of mindfulness, our thoughts can rule our lives. The problem is, we believe every thought that enters our minds is real, and don’t realize that we hold the power to change our thoughts. The surface world we live in is not a spiritual world and success is not measured by wisdom or a pure nature, but by “achievement” and superficial criteria.
Our love for our families and friends is a divine gift but if our circle has been brainwashed by the ways of the world, it can have a profound impact on our sense of self-worth. The values of society have been warped over time, and the purest among us feel “less than” just for seeing through the illusions and taking a stand. Even those who were raised among like-minded circles suffer from thoughts of anxiety and disillusionment. Yet there is a way to deal with thoughts and emotions without them getting to the point where they spiral out of control.
Mindfulness could be the one thing that can save you from your thoughts of self-doubt. Initially, it may seem that mindfulness is only practiced by the spiritual elite, an unattainable daydream, and just another thing we cannot achieve. But the best thing about mindfulness is that it can be practiced as you go about your day. This means that you don’t need to set aside time to learn the art of mindfulness, and it can be used every moment of your life once you do.
So what is mindfulness exactly? Well, mindfulness is the practice of learning to observe your thoughts and emotions without attaching to them. It’s a revelation when we learn that our thoughts are not always real or logical. Previously, we may have believed that each thought is based on legitimate reasoning, but on further reflection, we will realize how that could never be. The nature of humanity is that thoughts and emotions come and go at random, and if everyone were to believe their every thought then global chaos would ensue.
For example, let’s say you are home alone and you hear a strange sound. Before you know it your heart begins to race, and for a moment you wonder if the character from that thriller you watched has somehow got into your home. You might freeze, straining your ears to hear movement, as you silently pray and try to convince yourself that all is well. This situation can go one of two directions. If you allow your thoughts and feelings to consume you, you may run out of the house or call a friend in a flat panic. Alternatively, you might succeed in using your intellect to reason with the crazy thought and return to your peaceful evening.
While the first scenario is a metaphor for how thoughts can spiral out of control and influence behavior, the second scenario is an illustration of mindfulness. This example highlights the power of the mind and its ability to cause realistic illusions. This becomes more complex when the false thoughts seem more plausible, such as your perception of yourself or others. Thoughts of worthlessness or unnecessary concern can cause great suffering, especially if you assume that the thoughts are real, or try to analyze where they are coming from.
In the situation where you imagined something or someone in your home, it is unlikely that you will obsess over this experience, wondering why you had the thought of blaming yourself for thinking it. You would simply write it off as meaningless and carry on with your life as usual. This is because you do not identify with the experience, so it does not continue to plague you in a repetitive cycle daily. Mindfulness assists in the identification of false thoughts and teaches us to rationalize with ourselves and to refocus completely on a more realistic viewpoint.
Don’t get trapped in mental cycles trying to find and cure the root of the problem. Understand that those thoughts come and go like passing clouds. Sometimes these thoughts are not real, but knowing that they are transient and not a part of your identity will change your life and create space for a more positive state of being. And then, you will hardly ever experience the thoughts that you used to have, and when you do, just take a deep breath and remember that they are just illusions temporarily passing through your mind.