Let's think about thoughts. What is a thought? What are the properties of a thought, is it a solid, a gas, or is it a liquid? No, it's none of these things, so what is it.
Well, thought is creative energy, there's no there there, so to speak, which is why everything can change in a minute; we're only ever one thought away from a whole new experience of life. The world we see is only ever a projection of our mind, because we filter everything through our own unique lens of perception, otherwise known as our Internal Representations.
Everything we experience is merely a projection of thought, and what happens after we've had that thought depends entirely on our opinion of the thought, and then how we label it before imbuing it with a corresponding power. If we think our thought optimistically and positively, we give ourselves the power to feel good. If we think our thought pessimistically and negatively, then we give ourselves the power to feel bad. But what if we hold off thinking a thought altogether, especially if it's a negative thought or a troublesome problem? What if we put it down for a while and come back to it later, how would that help?
We know that everything is temporary and nothing lasts forever, but we often overlook the granular truth in this. For example: that second you lived through just now as you exhaled has gone, and as you inhaled a new breath, the world had changed in that granular instant, and now that instant, and now that instant too - you get the gist. Everything is transitory, including your thoughts. Give it a minute and there'll be another three new thoughts pop up to replace the ones you're having now, and this is why the greatest trick your thoughts ever pulled was convincing you they are real, because they're not.
If you're suitably willing and able get a tub of Play-Doh. If you're not suitably willing and able just play along and use your imagination.
Mould the Play-Doh into a representation of the biggest challenge or problem you're currently facing. It doesn't have to be artful, or even make sense to the rest of us, but it does have to represent your problem well enough for you.
So when you've finished moulding your problem, you can either try and solve the Play-Doh problem by going under, over, around or through it, or you could ball it up and create something entirely new out of it. How? Why? Because - like I said a moment ago - the nature of life, and by extension your problem, is transitory and constantly changing. Life isn't fixed, static or solid. In fact it's constantly flowing and fluid. As they say, you never can step into the same river twice, and this means you're never actually stuck with anything - regardless of how insurmountable it may feel to you now, because things change. Every second is a transition into the next. Every second of your life offers you hope and change.
THE GREATEST TRICK
So putting the Play-Doh away now, and thinking about the greatest trick your thoughts have ever pulled was convincing you they're real, let me ask you this: if your thoughts are so real can you pick them up and put them in a wheelbarrow? No. Why not? Because they're not real, they're not tangible, they are not a solid, they're not a liquid and they're not a gas. In fact, your thoughts only come to life when you imbue them with power, when you mould them, name them and attach a sense of urgency and importance to them. So the obvious solution is to not imbue them with power, set them aside, wait, and check back later so see them through an entirely different lens of perception. Do you doubt you can do this? If so, let me reframe it for you.
Have you ever had an epiphany, a light bulb moment where something previously confusing suddenly made sense? Have you ever experienced a first impression about someone, only to change your mind once you'd gotten to know them better? Have you ever had a terrible day spontaneously transform itself into a great day on the back of some good news - and what happened to your thoughts in that instant? See... you can do it! Things change and they can change quickly when life chooses to turn on a penny, and they can take your thoughts with them. This is why I'm suggesting you step away from a problem for a while and come back to it with a different mood, another perspective, more information or following some other manifestation of change.
Your mind thinks, that's its job and so it's too easy for us to fall for the con that every single one of those thoughts is important and should be treated as gospel. Piffle! Once you embrace the fact that you can choose your thoughts, and you can also choose to dismiss negative and unresourceful thoughts at will, the world is your oyster and you can become unstoppable. Just because a thought starts to waft across your consciousness, in no way obligates you to think it either at all, or at least all the way through to the end. It's the same as walking out of crappy movie, or refusing to read a trashy novel all the way through to the end. You can also think about it this way...
The mind is like walking around with a magician all day. You know they're playing tricks, but you fall for it almost every time.
If you have a seemingly insurmountable problem, and you've tried every which way to Sunday to sort it out (but to no avail), try putting it down and going to do something else for a while - essentially balling up the Play-Doh. Time will pass whilst you're away. Your unconscious mind will continue to whirr away in the background, whittle away at the problem - utilising your Reticular Activating System as necessary, to help it find a solution - and all whilst you're otherwise engaged and hopefully decompressing and resting.
When you readdress the problem after a break it's likely you will perceive it differently, it's likely your circumstances will have changed. You've given yourself the time and space necessary to allow the solutions your tireless unconscious mind has been searching for all this time, to bubble up to the surface. You may even have had time to enjoy a mysteriously well timed conversation with a friend who sparks your imagination, or lights a fire of inspiration within you. The trick is to give it time and to allow a fresh perspective to introduce itself. If you're in a hole and you keep digging - doing what you've always done - you're only going to end up in a deeper, darker hole. Better to take a break, jump out and take a look around you; what's changed whilst you've been down there, and how can you turn that change to your advantage?
When you give yourself permission to forget about things for a while and walk away, when you come back you won't be 'standing in the same river' as you were when you left, because things change. Instead, you will be coming back to brand new thinking, and you won't even have to work at summoning these new thoughts, because all you ever had to do was let go of the old ones. You only have to allow your lens to change to see new things; you can't solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it.
The greatest trick your thoughts ever pulled was convincing you they are real. They don't appear to us as thoughts. Instead they somewhat arrogantly present themselves as inarguable facts and reality with weight and majesty, so we take them very seriously. But we don't actually have to do what they say because that voice inside your head is not the voice of God, it just sounds like it thinks it is. It's all an illusion that you fall for almost every time and you allow it. So now you can shift into the driver's seat and bloody well disallow it! When we reclaim our power over our thoughts, those thoughts lose traction whilst we mindfully wait for new thoughts to manifest.
GIVE THIS A WHIRL...
When you next get a moment to yourself on a lovely sunny day, go outside and look up at the sky. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Now watch the clouds float across the sky. Notice how white and fluffy and insubstantial those clouds appear to be, how they waft, and how there's another one entering your field of vision as others leave. This is my cheesy metaphor to help describe how thoughts work; there's always another - different - thought on it's way, if you'll just press pause for a while. And a new thought could be as powerful and as helpful to you as an epiphany, a realisation, the revelation of brand new information that you just didn't see coming a short while ago.
Let me ask you one last preposterous question: If a cloud walked up to you in the street and demanded your purse/wallet with menaces, you'd see the ludicrousness in the situation and immediately walk away - probably through the vapour itself, having not felt remotely threatened by the incident at all. So now you may be questioning my sanity for imagining such a scenario, but you are essentially being held up by your thoughts in this way, complete with all the ludicrousness of my menacing cloud visualisation. You are essentially imbuing your thoughts with the power to rob you of clarity, confidence and peace of mind. You obediently empty your pockets of reserves of these strengths as soon as your Comfort Zone launches a negative self talk agenda, or an inner critic monologue, to thwart your best endeavours. And you fall for it almost every time. So what to do?
Knowledge is the first weapon in your arsenal to combat such attacks. Knowing what's happening, why and that you're under no obligation to lay down and comply is everything - and it's empowering too. Understand that it's all a trick to intimidate you and keep you small. Recognise your thoughts are simply trying to extort you into doing their bidding; notably keeping you safe inside a limiting set of beliefs and Comfort Zone. In reality however, these thoughts are less substantial than even the most thuggish of clouds, because at least the cloud is comprised of gas and liquid (and occasionally even solid). You can safely walk through your thoughts, choose them if they're positive and empowering, or reject them if they're negative and limiting. Seriously, your thoughts can't threaten you if you don't first give them the power and authority over you.
SO IN SUMMARY
Change is inevitable, but progress is optional so, as ever, it's up to you to decide how to implement the information I've given you here. If you'd like some help with this, or to discuss it further, please feel free to reach out to me and I'll look forward to hearing from you, but in the meantime practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, breathe. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you're about to react harshly, and you'll avoid saying and doing things you'll regret later.
Always bring your best self forward.
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