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Thoughts Are NOT Facts!

Every day, every hour, every minute our minds are filled with thoughts. And those thoughts can bounce, and bounce, and bounce. In yoga and Buddhism, we call this monkey brain — drunken monkeys jumping around, screeching and chattering and carrying on all clamoring for attention. For many, fear is the biggest and loudest monkey of them all, and it loves to point out all the things that are wrong. On the other hand, our thoughts can also be positive. Which makes you wonder…why do we sometimes fall on negative thoughts while other times we more readily choose positive ones?

Let’s think out a scenario or two on this, shall we?

You’re on line at the store and having a crapola of a day and your mind is racing with all sorts of thoughts about how bad your life is going. And as you move up in the queue, an Acquaintance walks past and you wave hello. That person looks at you but doesn’t wave back. “Oh my gods!”, you think. “What the heck is that all about?” And then you think…

What did I do wrong?
I’m worthless.
I knew it. Nobody likes me.
Why do I even bother anyway? There’s no point in even trying.

Hmm.

Now let’s look at another scenario. You’ve just finished writing your latest book, or completed a grueling project at work, or put the last finishing touches on repainting your bedroom. And your editor, boss, or significant other tells you what a fantastic job you did. How wonderful! You’re stoked because someone’s noticed your efforts and told you that you hit one out of the park! Then you go to the store and you see an acquaintance and wave hello, and that person looks at you but doesn’t wave back. And then you think…

I wonder what’s wrong with her.
I hope she’s okay.
Maybe she didn’t see me.

Same event. But different leading events and subsequent moods. And then differing interpretations.

Hmm again.

What just happened here?

Well, what just happened is that you got proof that thoughts are not facts.

content courtesy of Mindful.org

See, the brain is wired to protect you. And it’ll go to great lengths to play out every scenario imaginable to explain a situation you’re facing, or a fear you’re experiencing, or a strong emotion clamoring for attention. It’ll go through great machinations to enable stressors and fear, tricking you into thinking that if you worry enough you’ll be prepared to handle whatever is thrown at you. Conversely, it’ll also make you believe that you’re on top of the world because of some external event that occurred, releasing all sorts of wonderful, feel-good endorphins making you think life is awesome.

And there’s the takeaway: your interpretation of what’s happening around you and your thoughts about those situations are not reality. They’re simply a perception of it. That’s why good days can bring forth good perceptions, and bad days can elicit bad ones. Which means the only thing you can control is your reaction to whatever happens to you. The only thing that can make a difference is how you perceive your world and life. Because facts are facts are facts. Anything else is interpretation.

You’re standing on line. Fact.
An acquaintance walks by. Fact.
You wave and the acquaintance doesn’t. Fact.
See? No one likes me. Reaction and interpretation! NOT fact!

Well, then, what’s the first step in releasing the hold your thoughts have on you? Noticing the self-talk going on in your head, then labeling the thought for what it is: a thought, with no judgment about it. Then let the thought go. This takes practice, but it’s worth the effort because you see thoughts for what they are. It brings attention to the fact that your mind is chattering away and making up stories about what’s going on around you.

You’re standing on line.
An acquaintance walks by.
You wave and the acquaintance doesn’t.
See? No one likes me.
Hold on. That’s a thought. Nothing more. A thought.
Let it go.

Little things go wrong from the moment you wake up in the morning.
Today’s a horrible day.
Hold on. That’s a thought. Nothing more. A thought.
Let it go.

Two people walk by, talking in whispers.
He was talking about me. I just know he was.
Hold on. That’s a thought. Nothing more. A thought.
Let it go.

You’re at the car wash and someone comments how great your hair looks.
Oh wow. I’m awesome! I just knew it!
Hold on. That’s a thought. Nothing more. A thought.
Let it go.

The more you do this, the easier it becomes to recognize the internal chatter, and the easier it becomes to let it go and see the moment for what it is. A moment. Nothing more and nothing less.

I’m not perfect at this, but I try it. Every day. As often as I can. And let me tell you, your heart becomes lighter for it.

This content was wonderfully curated by the folks at mindful.org. Swing by to read more, and maybe learn some things about mindful living, too.

♥ Namaste ♥


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This post first appeared on Terri Herman-Ponce | Twists, Turns, Past Lives And, please read the originial post: here

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