In this age of social media where people are proclaiming their ideas and opinions as most effective and unerring even though all they might be doing, is preaching.
And one such proclamation is “Control your thoughts” as if we actually have the capability of filtering out all the negative ones and perpetuate the positive ones round the clock?
Ask or listen to any bona fide spiritually sound person, they will never recommend you giving much heed to thoughts.
Thoughts are something which we deal with, in so huge numbers every single day that it is practically impossible to control them the way you want. And if you are willing to try to do it, it is seemingly futile as that will eats away all your energy and attention which you could put to better use.
If you go one step further, thoughts are actually quite feeble even the negative ones. It seems very dreaded because you pay more heed to it than it deserves. If you stop getting concerned with thoughts that creep into your mind, Knowing that it is just fleeing. Then it no longer gets the fuel it requires, and eventually, it will vanish, from where it has emerged.
The problem occurs when we start labeling it. Such as this is a positive one, I must keep it. And this is a negative one. I must get rid of it.
And then you start cultivating a longing where you expect only positive thoughts and dread the negative ones. This longing for everlasting positive thoughts will create a never-ending conflict inside you because you will never have control over what you would think, completely, no matter how hard you are training your mind.
Paradoxically, the more you would avoid the negative thought, the more it tends to cross your mind, and the harder you would try to filter that out, it would amplify itself further. That’s like a never-ending loop.
What should you rather do?
To start off, observing the thoughts and not getting identified with them is really effective.
What do we mean by not getting identified with it?
There must be many instances where you have thought of dying. Maybe meeting with an accident while riding, or drowning while doing some water activities, or falling off, if standing on a tall building.
But you did not die. right?
It’s because in those moments you did not pay much heed to it as you were busy doing something more meaningful.
But what if you would have been terrified with those thoughts to such an extent that, all your awareness shifted from what you were doing to, what you were thinking. You are completely cut off from the present moment and started viewing what you are thinking as reality. This is called getting identified with something which you are not. Because in reality at that point in time, you were actually doing an activity.
We can actually reverse this, suppose when a thought creeps in while you are doing something, just be aware of the activity you are doing. And even if your mind entices you and starts thinking again, the moment you realize you started thinking again. Just bring back the attention to now.
This takes a bit of practice but gradually, it improves, so does all areas of your life. Because now you can do or learn something with profound focus.
Precisely, this moment is all you have. All the things you want to fix from the past or achieve in the future can only become a reality when you get yourself out of your mind chattering and focus on what needs to be done right now.
The trick is, don’t resist. That will create unnecessary conflicts. Just be aware, even if it is fleeing in the beginning.
With deliberate attention, the probability of getting lost in thoughts will become lesser, and staying and focusing in present will become your second nature.