We are constantly lost in thought. From the minute we wake in the morning to the minute we drift into sleep at night, there is a tiny ‘us’ talking in our heads: giving us instructions; questioning our decisions; judging; prodding; poking; criticizing…
It’s as if we live with the shittiest roommate in the world—only worse, because they follow us wherever we go.
It’s common to think we can go to war with this roommate. But no matter how well we do, they will always come out on top. For the roommate is tireless, insatiable, never-ending.
Since we can never ‘beat’ them, our only option is to befriend them. It’s like treating a bully with nothing but kindness and respect…They begin to lose their power—growing weaker and quieter.
You can never stop thinking, no matter how much you try. But thoughts aren’t the problem. The problem is our nagging level of dissatisfaction which comes from identifying with our thoughts. We attempt to hold on for dear life to the pleasurable and positive thoughts and emotions, and to repel and evade the undesirable and negative ones.
But it’s possible to simply notice these thoughts and feelings as they arise. The idea is to pull the curtain out to reveal the truth: These are just sentences and images arising in the present moment.
You don’t have to be a robot to do this successfully. The next time you get annoyed, rather than try to distract yourself, or constantly remind yourself of how annoyed you are…Try this:
1) Notice the feeling (“I’m annoyed right now. I feel tingling in my face.”)
2) Question the origin (The feeling, not the event. “Where did this feeling in my face and head come from?”)
3) Be completely curious (“Where does this feeling go?”)
You’ll quickly realize that it’s nowhere. It’s like a ghost. The curtain is pulled and there’s nothing but you sitting in your car or standing in line…experiencing whatever it is you’re experiencing in the present moment.