Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking (Words in your Head)
Clearing the Pathway for Love
Being in Reality vs Being in the nonsense/ beliefs/ words
Here is some sad but true news: we are all crazy.
Here’s is some liberating and amusing news: we are all crazy.
We love someone, and we obsess about how they need to change.
In spite of a lifetime of evidence, we imagine we are blameless and that any trouble is “Your fault.”
We call the kettle black: other people are selfish, or inconsiderate, or rude or any one of the traits that we drift (or plunge) into when we fall into our own moments of stress or forgetfulness or foolishness (or tiredness or assholeness).
Alas: We are so SURE that if so and so would just straighten up, all would be well in the world.
If they would just CHANGE all would be good again. Of course, that we might change our behavior or our own thinking or our own beliefs, this doesn’t occur to us.
Usually is the kicker.
We aren’t perfect. We are all assholes sometimes.
The sooner and the easier and the more humorously we can catch our fall into the “you are to blame, just fix yourself” mode, the sooner we can laugh and love and be free again. To NOT forgive is the swallow the rat poison and hope the other person dies.
This chapter is a chance to begin to practice this dance of jumping out of our old stuck perspective and realizing that we have the major say in our own misery.
Actually: it’s more severe than that: almost all our first world suffering (first world suffering as emotional vs third world suffering as starving or our houses being bombed or our lives in violence) is an inside job.
Who makes us miserable, when we are?
We are miserable because we believe our own thinking.
Since we cause this suffering, we can “un-cause” it. How?
Stopping believing our thinking. (And by “thinking” I mean words in our head that are judging and blaming reality. Real thinking is of the try this and see what happens. Try something else and see what difference happens. In fact, we are going to use “real thinking” to compare the difference: how are we when we believe our thinking vs how are we when we don’t believe our own thinking.)
Sounds too simple.
A real life story when I discovered my assholeness….
Here’s a little story about a nice “turn around” with a fourteen year old that I was certain was being the “Stupid/ bad/ selfish” one. In my stupid (and suffering) state, I was quite clear: she needed to change.
This story takes place in Sonoma, around 2000, in the summer. I’d gotten over the trauma of a gal named Sally Ann running off with a man named Joe. I’d stopped believing my thinking that she was meant to stick around and argue with me. And I had stopped believing my own thinking that no one else great would show up in my life.
And then Celeste did. A perky yoga teacher, who shared gardening and bike riding and a general love of nature with me.
We grew fonder and fonder of one another, and then couldn’t restrain ourselves to two residences. So I came to spend the night with her.
Off in a huff went Lara, her fourteen year old daughter. Her father and Celeste had been unhappy for many years and had been apart for almost a year, and that didn’t matter to her: she didn’t want her Mom living with her new guy.
There I was.
Off she went. In a huff. In the middle of the night. Big drama. Big show.
And she’s fourteen, right? She’s a pain in the ass, nasty to her Mom, the whole usual teenage thing.
And me in all my wisdom, decide to get all twisted about her being “selfish.”
Which I could make a great case for; after all wasn’t she throwing hissy fit after hissy fit? (I.e. acting 14).
And then a pleasant and slightly stunning light bulb went on: I was the selfish one.
When Lara threw her hissy fits, it upset her mom, and so Celeste and I had less fun.
This upset MY selfish wish to have great times, all the time, with Celeste.
I was a hypocrite (this has been discovered since, many times) and that was funny and a relief. She was selfish. I was selfish. So be it.
And guess what? Once my mind got clear, our relationship got clear. Like this:
One day she was over visiting us and I decided to tell her my discovery about me being the “selfish” one.
What teenager doesn’t want to hear an adult admit that they are an ass?
She lightened up and when I left to go to a garden I was caring for, she shouted out after me, “Goodbye, Selfish Chris.”
We were friends ever after, including some very interesting times when Celeste and I had amicably decided to part and Celeste super quickly found the husband that was just right for her.
First we can remember that this is such a common occurrence that there is a folk phrase: WHEN I STICK OUT ONE FINGER IN ACCUSATION, THREE FINGERS ARE POINTING BACK AT ME.
Second, we can make a game of this, of course.
Don’t Believe Your Thinking Exercise #1: One finger out, three back.
Think of someone you’ve got a nice juicy one word condemnation for. Selfish. Lazy. Avoidant. Whatever.
Be accusative: point your hand, one finger out at some imaginary them. Let yourself be all crunched in and tight breathed when you believe this story.
Stand straighter. Wiggle your body a little. Look at some nature if you can. And then….
JUMP to a new spot, and pick one of the fingers that is pointing toward you. Smile and discover one way, this is you, too. If so and so is mean or selfish or inconsiderate, find one way that you are.
Alas, and then…
JUMP to another freedom spot, and pick another finger pointing back toward you. Smile, breathe deeply and find one more way this is you.
Alas, three fingers pointing back. JUMP a third time, and feel the third finger pointing back and find, alas, one more way this is YOU TOO. Yep. YOU TOO.
You and the other: imperfect humans. Damn! or, Goody!
Now make sure you did that.
It’s not something we usually like to do.
It’s something we are very glad, once we’ve done it.
And … and the eating crow part, the admitting our own flaw part, is usually not popular.
Here’s a not believing our own thinking game / reframe, that’a little easier to pull off, and hence can be part of our daily strategy.
When: only when we are unhappy.
You mean we can “un-do” our unhappiness?
Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking Exercise #2: Jump to Gratitude
This is a learning game. They all are.
Stand on some spot that you’ll call and feel as the “blame spot.” Once there, think more consciously the blame thoughts you are already thinking about some other “bad/ imperfect/ to blame/ yucky” person in your life.
There is almost always a SHOULD or SHOULDN’T attached to your story about them.
Write down the should/ shouldn’t thought.
Feel what happens to you when you believe this.
Jump to another spot and say aloud five gratitudes.
How do you feel now
Go back to the blame/ should / shouldn’t spot, and feel how that feels.
GET INTO IT. FEEL YOURSELF SLUMP OVER AND TIGHTEN YOUR BODY AND CRUNCH DOWN ON YOUR BREATHING WHEN YOU THINK THE BLAME/ SHOULD/ SHOULDN’T THOUGHTS.
Then, relax a bit.
Stand up straighter.
Look at something real, preferably nature outside.
Take a deep breath.
Wiggle your body from fingers to toes.
Now JUMP, really, Jump to another spot, and in that spot say aloud six gratitudes.
Three gratitudes for life in general.
Three gratitudes/ appreciations for the “bad/ yucky” person.
Feel what happens to your body, mind, heart, soul and breathing as you do then.
NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE. = LEARNING.
This isn’t bullshitting.
This is core to a good life.
We can choose the blame spot, and ….. happens.
We can choose/ jump to the gratitude and appreciation spot and … happens.
Notice: this isn’t being “good.”
This is being smart/ wise/ kind to ourselves.
THIS IS NOTICING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLAME/ SHOULD/ SHOULDN’T AND GRATITUDE ON US.
We’ve already experienced the power of gratitude.
And we’ve made it explicit that learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.
Here we are jumping to a different spot, to have a gratitude based outlook on reality.
And experiencing the difference.
And… we can always slink back, temporarily, to the grumpy/ blame spot.
Gratitude, and we get one result.
Blame and should/ shouldn’t and we get another.
And some part of us can experience deeply this sad and brutal truth: where we put our attention determines our inner “weather.”
Which means: we can chose happiness or suffering.
In the mere jumping to a different view of the world.
A game worth playing. Any time we are miserable with a bunch of should or shouldn’t accusations in our minds.