Question: My thoughts run my life, driving me pillar to post. How do I learn to recognize when I'm trapped in useless thinking? I feel drained!
Answer: Whatever dominates us in the moment is what is first in our lives. We value things that seem to put us first, but actually put our true best interests last. We squander our lives -- our precious energy -- thinking about things that only serve to fill time. The cost of having a conscious first, being truly whole and successful, is giving up useless thoughts. How do you know a thought is useless? Ask yourself how long you've been thinking the same thing! Beyond that, here are some specific areas of useless thinking you can watch for:
- Any thoughts whatsoever about what tomorrow may bring.
- Thinking about what someone said or did to you.
- Thinking about your possessions and your possibilities.
- Thinking about what you could have said or should have done.
- Thinking about what some kind of pain or illness may mean to you, or thinking about your own aging.
- Thinking about how others displease you -- judging others.
- Thinking about yourself.
Question: I am easily taken over by re-running unpleasant events in my mind. If I say something stupid to someone, I'll hear it in my mind for days afterwards. I know this is crazy, but I just can't seem to help myself!
Answer: With each mental replay of an unpleasant scene, you go deeper and deeper into thought, desperately trying to find a way to escape what seems an intolerable situation. What you don't see happening to you is that the more you think, the more you sink! Exactly the opposite of what you think you're accomplishing. And the deeper you sink in thought, the less you're able to see what the rest of you is doing.
Driving recklessly, speeding, missing the exit you want - these, and other equally dangerous stunts, are only a few of the foolish things that happen to you while driving under the influence of a stream of self-compromising, self-wrecking thoughts. Your life, in moments such as these, is actually out of your hands. It belongs to your thinking. The relief you seek can never be a creation of thought. Your awakened awareness is all that is needed to be free of useless thinking.
Drop any thought or action that creates conflict in the present moment for the promise of a better feeling to come. Your True Nature is now. There is no later. You can't be divided and be content. Choose to be whole. Begin by consciously refusing to compromise yourself.
Excerpted from Freedom From the Ties That Bind