If we agree, for the most part, that thoughts are a pretty integral part of our lives… they determine what we like, don’t like, choose to focus on, how we feel…. they sound pretty darn important to me.
Well, people have searched for ages to find out the source of these instigators… yes, they are brain activity, but where do they actually arise from? Here is a quote from Pema Chodron that sums it up.
WHERE DO THOUGHTS COME FROM?
When the thoughts arise it might occur to you to wonder where they come from. Where do they come from? It seems as if they come from nowhere. You’re just faithfully following your breath and—Wham!—you’re in Hawaii surfing. Where did it come from? And where does it go? Big drama, big drama’s happening, big, big, drama. And it’s 9:30 in the morning. “Oooh. Wow! This is extremely heavy.” A car horn honks, and suddenly you’re not in that drama anymore, you’re in another drama.
I was once instructed to meditate on thoughts. I investigated the nature of thought for two whole months. I can tell you firsthand that you can never find a thought. There is nothing there of substance, but with our mind we make it Extremely Big Deal.
So, please, when you believe a thought to be an Extremely Big Deal, remember, thoughts are not facts, even the ones that tell you they are. There may indeed be an issue to attend to, but it may not be exactly what your thoughts tell you. I love the suggestion from Brene Brown to re-frame thoughts, not as the absolute truth, but as “The story I am believing right now is……”. Try it.
ps. the good news is that we can train our brains to seek out the good, healthy ones, and use our brains as wonderful tools to feel good, figure things out and discover new things…. keep up your mindfulness practice! Or at least notice the big deal thoughts and remember they are just thoughts. Then choose your action, if any. You can’t control the world but you can control your response to it.