Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 10-07-2015
Tags: 3 Principles, Anxiety, Wellbeing
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
I know it’s contrary to the way the world looks and feels on the surface, but we live in the experience of our thoughts. If you can start to grasp this strange inside-out nature of life–you’ll see and experience your own life in a whole new way. The more you truly see that it’s your own thoughts creating your experiences–and not the other way around–the more happy you’ll be. I promise!
With that in mind, here are some personal experiences where my thoughts played tricks on me and my reality changed in an instant:
1. Bad Brakes or Good Brakes? I hadn’t had my car brakes checked or changed in a number of years and got it into my head (my thoughts) that I needed new ones. Because of this, I was being careful to give myself extra time and room to stop, especially on the highway. However, I was shocked to find out at the garage, that the brakes were still fine. They told me there was plenty of padding on both the front and back ones. Imagine my surprise when driving home, the brakes felt as good as new!
What happened? When I was thinking my brakes were bad, my experience of them was bad. But once I was told they were fine, my thinking changed–and thus my experience did too. My thoughts created my reality!
2. Scary Napkin. The other day I had a vine ripened tomato as part of my lunch. I had taken the stem off and put it to the side and forgot about it. Later, I picked a napkin up off the counter and the piece of stem was stuck to it. At first glance it looked like a creepy spider! My heart rate went up, I gasped and reflexively dropped the napkin. I quickly realized what it was, and thus my fear turned to amusement within seconds.
What happened? When I was thinking there was a spider on the napkin, my flight or fight response kicked in and the chemicals that go with it flooded my body. Once I saw that it was nothing harmful, my thoughts changed and I calmed down. This clearly shows how it’s not things outside of us (such as a spider or a mean person) that cause us fear, but our thoughts about those things.
3. Breaking and Entering. A couple of weeks ago, my husband had a dentist appointment first thing in the morning, about the time he would have normally gone to work. While I’m sure he told me about it, I forgot. Therefore, in my mind he was at work–not at the dentist’s office. Because of this, I was surprised an hour or so later when I heard the front door unlock and someone (him) enter.
What happened? Even though I wasn’t consciously aware that I was thinking he was at work (as that’s the norm), it was my reality at that moment. When he came home at a weird time, my consciousness (reality) had to shift to be aligned with the new information that was now in front of me. It’s a subtle one, but it’s also the kind of thing that happens to us all day long without us even noticing.
Another, generic example of this would be:
Being scared/moved/sad at the movies. There’s nothing inherently scary or sad about a movie. The characters on the screen can’t hurt us, and they’re not even real. Yet we can be frightened out of our wits, or cry like a baby as if something was happening to us in “real life.”
What happened? Our thinking about the screen action has done a great job of bringing the movie to life for us–just as it’s supposed to. After all, what’s the point of watching a movie if we’re not going to totally immerse ourselves in it? Can you see that it can’t be the movie itself that made us feel a certain way? Can you see that a movie has no inherent power to do so? Our experience of the movie has to come from within, i.e., our thoughts about what we’re seeing on the screen.
How does knowing this help?
When we believe that things, events and other people are what cause us to feel certain ways, we are at the mercy of whatever is going on around us. This can make it feel like everyone and everything is just one big pain in the ass!
- When our boss needs something done today that we haven’t planned for, he/she is a pain in the ass.
- When the cars on the road aren’t driving as fast as we think they should, they’re a pain in the ass.
- When our husband or wife asks us to do something at a time when we just want to relax, they’re a pain in the ass.
What’s Really Happening?
Just as the movie can’t force us to feel scared or sad neither can our boss, the cars on the road or our spouse. While it’s true they are “real” people and events, it’s still 100% our thoughts about what they’re doing that cause us to feel the way we do.
I’m not suggesting that you try and consciously change your thoughts about the things that go on in your life. If you’ve ever tried that, you know it’s not sustainable. You’re going to have thoughts about stuff whether you like it or not. And many of them are going to be reactive and uncontrollable.
But here’s the thing…
As you start to recognize your reactions as being thought-created, they begin to have less meaning to you. After all, what is a thought anyway? It’s just some energy passing through your mind. As long as you’re alive and conscious you’re going to have thoughts which in turn create feelings of happiness, sadness, fear, love, anger, and joy. Embrace them all and be grateful that you’re a human being who gets to experience life via your amazing gift of thought!
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