You know when your partner has that pensive look on his/her face – that far away look – not vacant, exactly – but not present either. Have you ever asked, “What are you thinking about?” What response did you get? I’ll bet I can guess – “Nothing.”
Now let me ask you how often you are actually thinking about “nothing.”
I’ve been meditating regularly for at least 4 years now and I can promise you I have not reached that level of “empty mind” in my meditation practice! In fact, it seems like I instantly have MORE thoughts, the minute I sit down to meditate!
Why is that? Perhaps because when we sit still for a minute, we become aware of what is going on inside us. All those thoughts, fighting for our attention! Whereas normally, we distract ourselves with outside activities: “to do” lists, work, kids, school – anything we can think of to distract ourselves from those thoughts! Why is that? Because they are often thoughts we don’t like:
What if we just stopped for a minute and literally watched our thoughts scroll down in our minds eye, like the credits after a movie? You know, when you are looking for the name of the composer because you loved the music so much? Or the name of the director? Do you actually read and absorb all the other information as the credits scroll down? No – you don’t – you simply pick out the credit you want.
It’s the same thing with your thoughts. Just let them scroll down – you don’t have to engage with the ones you don’t like- the ones that don’t serve you. Just notice them, and let them go. And choose the ones you want. The ones that do serve you.
Yes, you can choose the thoughts that make you feel good and help you create the life you desire.
This is not something I came up with, by the way. The idea has been around for a while now:
“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” – Buddha (563 BCE – 483 BCE)