Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Weight of Thoughts

I went for a walk on the beach recently. I was alone; it was fairly early in the morning. There were a few people fishing off the beach and a few people walking. Mostly, there were large expanses of sand, water and sun. I walked and enjoyed the beauty. My mind was fairly quiet. Sometimes thoughts would come and I’d follow them and they would pass. Even the really enjoyable thoughts. I remembered some funny things that really made me laugh and even those thoughts passed.

Another experience that comes to mind was a fairly recent dinner with a friend. We were having a really nice time talking, sharing and laughing. At one point, we both started laughing at something silly that had happened and the thought arose that perhaps my friend was laughing AT me, that maybe I had done something inappropriate or wrong. The thought didn’t pass. It got bigger. My whole body joined the energy of the thought. I felt constricted in my chest. I felt ashamed. All my joyful energy drained out of me.

As I compare the two experiences, I feel confused. What gives thoughts their ‘weight’ or staying value? And do I have any choice in the matter?

In the past, I might have stayed in the feeling of shame that resulted from the dinner experience. It could have taken me hours, even days, to shift out of the feeling, sometimes without ever knowing, consciously, the trigger.

My choice, my intention, is to let ALL thoughts that bubble up pass. If my mind notices something worthwhile, some divine inspiration, I can choose to look more closely. I’m giving my body new directives about how to respond to negative, shameful thoughts. Apparently the “default settings” had been to catch any negative, shameful thought and join in. I’m turning that off. I choose to be an ‘equal opportunity’ thought processor. Funny, happy thoughts now get equal attention as negative, shameful thoughts. They are equally weighted. I’ll watch them all bubble up and pass. Like the waves on the shore – reaching up then receding into the vast ocean.

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