”People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.”– George Bernard Shaw
If there is one word that defines human beings, it is the word thinking. We are all thinking creatures. We are creatures who can’t stop thinking.
There is nothing wrong with thinking per se; for through thinking things through, we are able to innovate, solve problems and get things done. However, as you may notice: some of our thoughts can be pretty useless and even detrimental to our mental health and well-being.
According to Zen writer, Charlotte Beck, “Even when there’s nothing to think about, we want to think. We want to think (worry) through all of our preoccupations. We want to figure life out. And so before we know it we’ve forgotten all about this moment, and we’ve drifted off into worrying about something: our boyfriend, our girlfriend, our child, our boss, our current fear…off we go!”
There’s nothing sinful about such fantasizing except that when we’re lost in that, we’ve lost something else. When we’re lost in thought, we lost reality. Our life has escaped us.
This is what human beings do. And we don’t just do it sometimes, we do it most of the time. We do it because we are trying to protect ourselves. We’re trying to rid ourselves of our current difficulty, or at least understand it.
There’s nothing wrong with our self-centered thoughts except that when we identify with them, our view of reality is blocked.
So what should we do when the thoughts come up?
We should label the thoughts. Charlotte Beck further suggested to be “specific in your labeling: not just “thinking, thinking” or “worrying, worrying,” but a specific label.” For example: “Having a thought she’s very naggy.” “Having a thought that he’s very rude to me.”
When we label thoughts precisely and carefully, they begin to quiet down. We don’t have to force ourselves to get rid of them. When they quiet down, we return to the experience of the body and the breath, over and over and over.
And soon, you will find your worry, negative thoughts and imagined problems go away, like some kind of bad dreams..,
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