...the solution may be simpler than you imagine
So, what is addictive thinking?
When used correctly, the human mind is the most incredible tool in creation. We can use it to attract to us anything we desire. An out of control mind, on the other hand, creates nothing but problems.
Imagine you want to mow the lawn. You get the mower out of the shed and
do the job. What do you do with the lawnmower after you are finished? You put it back in the shed, right? Imagine if you were to keep going round in circles all day and all night, mowing the same patch of lawn over and over.
This is pretty much how our minds work. They never stop.
Although addictive or obsessive thinking is the norm, it is not natural. We learn it at a young age. As long as we remain slaves to our minds, it is pretty much impossible to find lasting peace.
Addictive thinking is the primary cause of suffering. If you are feeling down or troubled, one thing is certain ...you are thinking about something. Thinking and suffering are inseparable.
And here is the incredible truth.
In the absence of thinking, peace and happiness are always there.
Or to put it another way:
Peace and joy occur naturally when we are present, here and now.
The problem is that our addictive thinking habit keeps us pre-occupied and distracted from the inner peace that is always there. This is the simple message that all the Masters have been teaching for aeons. Happiness is not something to find (see what is happiness). It is revealed through peeling away that which it covering it up.
Imagine a 500 Watt light bulb burning brightly. Place a cloth over it and the light dims slightly. The bulb hasn't changed in brightness but the appearance on the surface is different. Now place another cloth over the bulb... and another, and another. Pretty soon we aren't able to see the light, although the bulb itself hasn't changed at all. This is exactly how it is with us. The light of our presence is immutable. It can never be changed, altered or lessened in any way. But it can APPEAR to dim.
Who We Really Are
Although therapy can undoubtedly help bring about positive change in our lives, it is ultimately like putting a sticking plaster over the real issue. Therapy focuses on analyzing the cloths which surround the light bulb and replacing them with "better cloths". We are always trying to fix things. It never strikes us that maybe things don't need to be fixed. Maybe they just need to be understood. If you understand them, they will change. Awareness and meditation allow us to directly experience ourselves as the light bulb. When we experience ourselves as Presence, understanding the cloths doesn't interest us too much.
The Difference Between Thoughts And Thinking
In our search for inner peace
, it is important to understand the difference between thoughts and addictive thinking. Thoughts appear spontaneously in our awareness. I can be walking down the street and suddenly the thought of lemon meringue pie pops into my head out of nowhere. I then think "Mmmmm... I love lemon meringue pie. Maybe i can pick one up later. Oh no, I forgot I am on a diet ...etc etc This is thinking. Thinking is a chain of related thoughts.
Try this exercise: Close your eyes and watch to see what your next thought will be. When it comes, open your eyes again. Did you have any idea what the next thought was going to be? Did you have any control over what it would be? Where did it come from? Where did it go to?
It is important to understand this.
Thoughts will arise whether we want them or
not but thinking CAN BE a conscious choice.
Like most people, I used to spend a lot of time judging my thoughts, feelings and emotions. This is how it works. A particular thought spontaneously arises and triggers a mental commentary. "I shouldn't be having thoughts like this. There must be something wrong with me etc. Or it could be a positive commentary ...it is not important.
The same happens with feelings and emotions. There is a little commentator with a clipboard sitting in our head labeling every experience as good or bad and handing out marks of approval or disapproval. When you start to see all this stuff it is actually quite amusing!
The thoughts themselves are neither good nor bad... they just are what they are. It is the commentary which creates a problem out of them. Simply shining the light of awareness on this brings immediate peace.... without anything changing. What you are aware of, you can be free of. Without being aware of addictive thinking, we are slaves to the mind. When I saw that I had absolutely zero choice over what I was experiencing, it was a revelation! How can I be guilty or wrong about something that is out with my control? All that remained was the simple choice of resisting it or allowing it to be.
Osho puts this in a wonderful way:
A man walks over the brow of a hill and looks upon the valley below. To his left there are some fir trees, on the horizon some gently sloping hills and on his right a river meanders slowly through the tranquil scene. He simply observes what he sees. He doesn't think " Those trees are wrong. They should be oak tress. And I don't like where the river is. I would prefer if it was to my left. And as for those hills, they are simply too small!" The vista of our experience is how it is. Resistance creates suffering, allowing creates peace. The good thing is that nothing needs to change. Through understanding, things change. Without trying to change anything, everything changes.
Before enlightenment, I used to be depressed. After enlightenment, I continue to be depressed. But there is a big difference. I don't identify with it any more. - Anthony de Mello
When you step out of yourself and look at the depression, you break your identification with it. When you simply watch what happens.... there is the thought (or feeling) .... and now, there is the commentary, you bring a new dimension into the experience. You bring in The Witness.
So, how do we stop addictive thinking?
Addictive thinking is unconscious thinking. Thinking is going on without any awareness that thinking is going on. Most people spend their entire lives like this. Addictive thinking is slavery to the mind. The solution is simple. We don't need to change anything. We just need to be aware. Each time we become aware that we are thinking, thinking is interuppted. Each time the chain of thought is broken, peace is there. Awareness is the key.
Kick The Thinking Habit is a 144-page e-book which explores in depth the topic
of thoughts and thinking and reveals the one thing we need to clearly see in order to permanently free ourselves from the tyranny of addictive thinking and find the peace we desire.
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