I know I’ve written this before; still, it bears repeating: we are always thinking and always feeling our moment-to-moment thinking. That is axiomatic – you can’t return to it too much. But, what I want to talk about now is how our RELATIONSHIP to our thinking is really far more important than the contents of our thinking.
Often when I am working with clients I see clearly their ‘caught-ness’ in the content of their thinking. Imagine seeing your thoughts as boxes moving along a conveyor belt. Most of us stop and look in the boxes believing what is inside is important. We pull out whatever the box contains and look at, analyze, judge it. We imagine it means something about us. While doing it we stop the belt from moving, stop anything new from coming our way.
Stopping all boxes (thoughts) and looking inside them doesn’t help us. We get caught in the contents of any box. Whether we judge the content as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, we stop the flow of other boxes. Believing in the import of the content of boxes (our thoughts) causes us to miss something much more useful: our relationship to boxes (our thinking).
Our ‘relationship’ to boxes means answering the question: do we need to dive into the content of each box to feel better and do better or is it more useful to stand back and let boxes flow by on the conveyor belt? This analogy points out two different relationships to boxes on the conveyor belt.The first approach means investigating and getting hypnotized by the contents of each box. The second approach includes seeing boxes without unpacking them and understanding the nature of the Principle of Thought – neutral, always moving, formless and thereby able to take on any form, infinitely creative, and impersonal.
The analogy reminds me of a few weeks ago when Ami and I cleaned out our basement. Lots of boxes (literally). If we had stopped to investigate all the contents, we would have never finished. We would have unpacked each box, finding an occasional ‘treasure’ (unneeded and unimportant considering we hadn’t seen it for years), or finding moldy, musty junk needing let go. Looking in boxes isn’t bad but can certainly get in the way of clearing space for something new and better. The same holds true of our old, habitual, personal thinking.
When we stop to unpack each thought – those that bother or the pleasant – we believe the content of those thoughts is important. We spend a lot of time looking at contents and talking about how it makes us feel and so innocently keep old, painful thinking in place! Then, we wonder why we continue to feel badly and think we must not have ‘dealt with’ our ‘issues’ yet. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As we learn to change our relationship to our thinking, i.e. become less interested in content and instead allow it to roll past like boxes on a conveyor belt, we naturally gravitate towards better thinking and feeling for our lives. We can trust better-feeling thinking – it moves us towards well-being and wisdom, our Natural State of peace. We don’t need to ‘do’ anything to ‘find’ better thinking. We just leave our thinking alone and wait for better thoughts to arrive on the conveyor belt. Our moment-to-moment feeling let’s us know our current relationship to thought. Feeling at-ease means we stopped unpacking boxes and investigating content. Leave thinking alone and the more we want to leave it alone. We see boxes for what they are: just thoughts – nothing to be afraid of regardless of their content.