I’d like to share something from an excellent book I’ve not long finished reading. The book is called Mindfulness Plain and Simple, A practical guide to inner peace by Oli Doyle.
You can’t go far without hearing mindfulness mentioned in some way and this book cleverly lays out how it can really impact how we live our lives.
The first chapter is entitled “What is wrong with us? The real cause of suffering.”
Doyle talks about how despite making changes to our environment, how we look and how we behave that happiness can still feel out of reach for many of us. He states that “we are lost in our thoughts, they consume our attention most of the time, and they are made up of scary stories about what will happen in the future, or pain and guilt about what happened in the past.”
This struck me hard. I am most definitely an overthinker. Whether I’m beating myself up for something I did or didn’t say or going through the motions of a discussion I might have in the future, none of it is actually happening. It is all in my head. Perception is reality, I know, but given that I have control over what goes on in my head it means I can be free to create my reality. Obvious and not so all at the same time!
Can you honestly say that you live in the moment? Do you have a tendency to live in thoughts buried in the past or in events yet to happen? How much energy do you expend on these things that you cannot change or that might never come to pass?
Are we actually creating or enhancing our own unhappiness? And what can we do to reduce that, even just a little?
As with meditation when thoughts pop into our heads and we acknowledge them and come back to the meditation exercise we can do the same in daily life. Each time I feel like I’m slipping into an unhealthy rabbit hole of past or future thinking I give myself a bit of a nudge now and ask myself how productive my thinking really is.
Sometimes it’s good to go over things or imagine what you might do in a certain situation to either process information or consider how we feel but to live in that space replaying old stories or acting out imaginary meetings really brings no positive outcome.
I’ve got a lot of practising to do but I feel like reading this has given me a swift kick up the backside to control my wayward thoughts. Perhaps it might be of use to you too?