What I have noticed this week is that with the gaining of focus there is the development of momentum. This is amazing when I am feeling great and it is awkward when I am feeling not so great, but it works both ways. You know how it works. One minute you’re feeling great and the next something ticks you off and somehow within minutes the ‘evidence’ is piling up and you are getting angrier and angrier, or sadder and sadder. And as much as you want to think a different thought, you are no longer in control, you cannot stop it anymore. Think in terms of a snowball rolling off-hill, amassing volume and speed. You can catch the snowball when it is the size of a small ball, any bigger than a basket ball and it will sweep you off your feet.
I am committed to feeling great. One, because it feels great. And two, because I believe I am a better person when I am feeling great. This commitment means that I will do what it takes to keep feeling great, or when I somehow fall of the wagon, which I do rather regularly, to do all that it takes to feel great again. The exercise I am practicing at the moment is to catch my thoughts before they develop momentum, before they attract similar thoughts and gain a lot of emotional weight, and decide whether I want to go that way, or not. If I don’t want to go that way, the idea is to focus on a thought that feels good and allow that thought to gain momentum instead by focusing on it intently for a prolonged period of time, say just a bit more than one minute. I am very slowly catching on. What happens most of the time is that I catch a thought when it is gaining momentum already or when it is full-blown. When it has not gained a lot of momentum yet, I will stop it in its track by distracting myself. I will do something completely irrelevant to that thought, like playing a silly game on my phone that requires most of my attention, or dancing to a favorite song, which I play at high volume. (Sorry neighbors!) But when it has gained too much momentum or has become full-blown, even though I may be aware of the fact that it is too late to stop that thought, I cannot get out of its way anymore, that I will be or am already swept up by a growing thought and rolling down hill at an alarming speed, amassing more and more similar thoughts, and there is nothing I can do about that either, I am going to crash, it is going to be ugly. When that happens, I try to find a route that leads to the least amount of damage and just let it play out, learn from it, forgive myself and ask for forgiveness. Next time, in that same situation, I may catch that thought in time or I will catch it only slightly earlier, and even though it will result in another crash, the thing thing I focus upon is that I caught that thought earlier and next time I will catch that thought even earlier, until I catch it in time to turn it around.
By default, we think a lot of negative thoughts. Great news is that, by default, we think a lot of the same thoughts. So being able to catch one negative thought early on, turn it around, focus on it and automate it will lead to a significant reduction of negative thoughts. This will lead to a heightened contrast between good-feeling thoughts and not so good-feeling thoughts. I mean when we are used to living in a dark house, we will not notice the lack of light. But once we find the light switch in one room, the rest of the house will be darker to the eyes and we will be acutely aware of the difference between the room with the light on and the other rooms. Because not only is that room light, it is colorful too and it speaks to our soul. We may switch off that light because it is too bright, but we will not forget it. Or we may stay in that room for a longer period of time just to revel in it, but we will know in the back of your mind that there is more to this house than just this one room. In the end, we will start looking for light switches in the rest of the house. And to our surprise, they will not be that difficult to find, because there is light in one room and it spreads out into the adjoining rooms, and then we will find that most light switches are located at a comparable spot.
So I am stumbling through this dark house called my human mind, looking for thoughts that connect me to this source of light called Love, thoughts that appeal to my soul and brighten my spirit. Thoughts that open my heart and mind to a world where Love reigns and the Universe provides a myriad of colorful possibilities to choose from depending on what I choose to focus upon. I am stumbling, and although it feels kind of awkward, I love finding light switches, turning on the light and seeing a new room in all its colors so much, that I am eager to continue this quest and stumble as often as I need to get it right. I am getting to the point where I love to stumble for it means that I am discovering new things and this provides new and improved options to choose from. Instead of walking into that heavy chair again, I can now go around it. Learning to find better-feeling thoughts may seem like not a big deal in comparison to major issues like finding world peace, but I will argue that when we all are willing to stumble through our own minds in quest of finding proverbial light switches, world peace is imminent. Happy stumbling.
Photo by Piotr Lewandowski