What’s On Your Mind?
I’ve seen this credit card commercial many times now—the one where somebody gets into some kind of trouble because they didn’t have this particular piece of plastic in their pocket, and that always ends with the question, “What’s in YOUR wallet?”
The idea that what we carry around with us can have a major impact on what happens to us seems to fit pretty well with the notion of thoughts becoming things. Lately I’ve been wondering a lot about that correlation—about the connection between what’s going on in my head and what’s showing up during my day. Particularly when the stuff showing up isn’t so hot, I wonder about the extent to which it somehow fits what’s been on my screen in terms of what I go around thinking about.
If our thoughts really do become things, then what things am I pulling into my experience—and how happy am I with what’s coming off that assembly line? I asked The Team . . . are we all just unwitting wizards and witches out of control, not realizing what we’re conjuring up and more or less at the mercy of our own creations?
This may very well be the most important question you will ever ask, because it speaks to the truly awesome power that you all have—but that most of you remain largely unaware of. In general you tend to move through your days and nights in a rather random or haphazard way, with your thoughts scattered in all directions, bouncing around in your heads with very little direction or focus . . . first you’re here, then you’re over there, then you’re down there . . . and there are so many thoughts racing through your minds at any given time or during any given day or night, you can’t possibly keep track of them all much less try to somehow govern or police them. So in fact, you do often feel at the mercy of those thoughts . . . and consequently, at the mercy of what is created as a result of your thinking.
More often than not, if you will take a few minutes to look around at your life, and then also stop to scan the range of thoughts that typically run through your mind over the course of a day or week, you will begin to see the connections. You will start to see the same patterns, the same randomness, but also the same themes . . . you will begin to see some of the threads running through those thoughts and to see how they are manifesting for you in your physical experience.
The real question, of course, is what can you do to exert some influence over that apparent randomness? How can you begin to feel like you have some measure of control over what seems to leap full grown from your brow to stand before you as a physical reality? This gets to the heart of what you and others call conscious or deliberate creating. It is the process of learning to direct your thinking in ways that benefit you, to begin to steer your thoughts in a way that allows you to feel—and to see—that you are not simply at the mercy of that seemingly random universe you call your mind, but that you actually have the power to decide the nature of your experience.
So how? How does it work and what can you do? Can you effectively monitor the thousands and thousands of thoughts that flood your brain every day? Can you dictate to your mind what will pass through it moment by moment? The odds are not in your favor. There are just too many thoughts getting ‘thinked’ all the time. You would drive yourself insane trying to stay on top of that.
So if not thought control, then what? And here is where we come in again, offering to you that instead of trying to police your thoughts, that you focus instead on the way that you feel. Look to your emotions as the guidance you need for determining if the predominant directions of your thinking are serving you or not.
Observe the feeling that follows the thoughts you are thinking. Then those feelings are pleasing or engaging to you, then your thoughts are pointing you in the direction of things that you want—and in the direction of who You really are. When the feelings you observe are displeasing or uncomfortable or distressing to you, then invariably, your thoughts are leading you away from the things that your heart desires and in the opposite direction of who You really are.
Here is where you DO have influence. You can, in every single moment, make a choice about the direction of your thoughts. This is different from trying to police or to dictate or monitor every single thought. What we are offering here is your power to influence the ‘direction’ of your thinking, the pattern or the trend or the motion of your mind and where it is carrying you. You absolutely can, in every moment, stop and become aware of that direction. You can tell in any given moment which way you’re heading—either in a direction that feels good or in a direction that feels bad.
It is as simple—even as simplistic—as that in the sense that you have this guidance available to you and that guidance is always telling you whether you are pointed in a direction that is right for you, or not. When you notice fear or doubt or dread or disappointment or depression or despair or worry or frustration or any of the other emotions that you label “negative” or “bad” . . . then you have been thinking thoughts that take you away from what you want and who You really are.
You can choose—every single time—to stop, and to turn in the direction of thoughts that feel better than that. You can choose each and every time—with practice—a direction of thought that will offer you some sense of relief from whatever you were feeling. You can do this simply by stopping and asking yourself, in any of those moments when your guidance kicks in, “What would feel a little better than this to think about?” “What can I focus on here that will feel a bit more positive or encouraging or soothing to me?”
As you begin to develop this keener awareness of your own guidance and as you begin to practice this process of first noticing the direction of your thoughts, then gently and lovingly shifting them in a direction that feels better . . . then you begin to see an even stronger connection between what goes on in your head and what shows up in your experience—and you begin to develop a sense of what a truly powerful creator you are.
You are never—ever—at the mercy of your random, haphazard, often distressing or confusing or debilitating thinking. You always have the power to shift, to alter your perspective, to change your point of view, to pick something from the field of possibilities that feels a little better to you, and then to move yourself to a place of greater and greater influence not only over what runs through your mind, but what manifests in your daily life.
We urge you constantly to be picky picky picky about what goes on in your head. You may not be able to stop the constant flood of seemingly random thoughts, but you can most definitely begin to intercept those thoughts and to influence the direction in which they are flowing. Be as picky as you can possibly be about the thoughts you focus upon. Be a selective shopper. Choose to give your greatest attention only to those thoughts or ideas that please or encourage or inspire or comfort or energize you.
Be as selective as possible about what you carry around with you in your mind, about what you stop to look at and what you decide to try on or to make your own. You can continue trying it all on . . . picking up this thought or that idea whether it really suits you or not . . . you can spend as much time as you like browsing what you really don’t like very much and even decide to make it your own . . . or you can look for what you know feels right to you, you can spend more and more of your time shopping for what suits you, for what feels like a good fit, for what makes you look and feel better to you . . . it’s the price and the privilege of the freedom that you have. What will you carry around with you—and of all the options that you have, which ones will you decide are really you?
I don’t much care for shopping. I hate the crowds and the noise and the overwhelming options. And I’m so picky. I care way too much about how the gift will be received and whether it will be pleasing to the recipient..
It’s curious that I can be so picky about the things I give to others, that I can care so much about whether I’ve chosen something that makes them happy . . . and then be so cavalier about the things—and the thoughts—that I offer myself.
I’m a champion haphazard thinker. I bounce off walls. And maybe like most folks, my thoughts can take me in pretty uncomfortable directions pretty quickly and pretty routinely, and my mood follows along like a faithful puppy, reacting to whatever pictures I’m putting up on the screen.
There’s comfort in the notion that I can change the course of my thinking and in doing so, alter the course of my own experience. It’s empowering, in a scary sort of way, to think that I really do have a say in what shows up. Maybe it’s the real-world equivalent of Hogwarts, where we start to really learn how to manage the magic we have, where we learn that it matters where we point our wands and the words that we speak.
Maybe it’s not for everyone—this business of being a more practiced and competent wizard, a more reliable and conscious creator of one’s own experience. But having seen and felt the impact of random, scattered, unfocused thinking . . . it sure seems worth a shot to study my own habits of thought a bit more carefully—and to point my magic wand in more constructive directions.It leaves me feeling like a wizard who can conjure his own life, instead of a wanderer who can’t stop dodging bullets. And that leaves me feeling more in control, and for the moment, more complete.