Posts tagged ‘In The Power of Now Eckharet Tolle’

January Thinking — Let’s Lighten It Up

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle suggests that 83% of our thinking is useless and repetitive. The Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, says the percentage is even higher. I found this hard to believe until one day when I was trapped in the car driving MORE than half-way to meet a friend. The friend had suggested the meeting place, and on the way there I realized the error my friend had made when calculating “half-way.” This error meant I drove an extra half hour. Now, I was already in the car, had left home in time, and there was really no serious problem with my having a lengthier drive than my friend. I told myself to forget it. It was too late. It didn’t matter. Who cared? And I insisted to myself that I stop thinking about it and never think of it again. Want to know how well that worked? In the next four hours of driving, I caught myself thinking about this great injustice eight times. Finally, it got funny. But it was also humiliating and a giant waste of time.

Richard Rohr says we love to whine about an injustice done to us. We pick at it like a dog with a bone. And each time we tell ourselves the story of the injustice, the story gets more developed and more fleshed out. Why is it that it almost makes us feel superior to realize someone did us wrong? They were wrong, and so therefore, we must be right. Oh, the problems with that conclusion! But, conclude we do, that our innocence is righteousness. And then we tell ourselves the story over and over. And over. And again. And some more. And this is just one example of the ridiculous way we spend our mental energy. We waste it — we’re not counting our blessings, we’re keeping track of everyone else’s sins, especially in the ways they’ve wronged us.

Now, these ideas are sophisticated psychology and theology. If this doesn’t immediately make sense to you, don’t fret. Start with some “baby steps.” Catch yourself stuck on the gerbil wheel of repetitive, useless thinking. Here are some clues to help you: Would you want to share this thinking with someone you admire? Is this thinking “against” someone else, sitting in judgment or criticism? Are you stuck in black and white, either/or thinking? David Burns in his book, The Feeling Good Handbook, says black and white thinking is one of the ten fallacies of disturbed and destructive thought. (Let me know if you want me to list all ten here.)

Psychologists agree, and if you’ve read anything about anxiety you already know this, our thoughts precede our feelings. And then our feelings precede our behaviors. We think it and then feel it and then do it. So, step one: we need to pay attention to our thinking. It is one thing we can control. Let’s become aware of how much better we feel when our thinking is healthier and happier. And, if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, ask yourself what you’re thinking. As one of the great blues singers proclaims: It’s my mind and I can change it!

Next week: Feelings — and my all time favorite poem!

 

 

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January 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM 5 comments


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