Getting Pushed Around by Your Thoughts?

In his 2003 book Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle offers the startling advice: “Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don’t take your thoughts too seriously.”

His point is that we get trapped in our concepts of what is going on, when really those concepts form only one of many perspectives of reality. Further, your thinking constitutes only a small portion of your overall consciousness, so it’s best not to assign too much weight to your thoughts.

Other authors too numerous to list urge us to take control of our thoughts because “we are what we think about.” This theme suggests that we must take our thoughts very seriously because they determine who we will be.

These are really not two diametrically opposed positions, though at first they appear to be. Instead, they work together quite well if we can approach them deliberately.

The first step is to compose in your thoughts the kind of person you want to be, then use your thoughts to intentionally cement that persona into your subconscious. Thoughts can also be used successfully to sort out decisions and plan actions. But left to itself, when those thinking activities are completed, the mind goes off in all sorts of tangents, forming judgments, criticizing what we ourselves or other people are doing, remembering and reliving nasty experiences best forgotten, etc. Clearly, these “left-to-itself” thoughts of the mind are the ones we must not take seriously, but, in fact, should replace as quickly as possible with the deliberate thoughts composing the persons we want to become.

           

Advent / Awakening

Advent is a lot like awakening, with its sense of emergence and dawn, and the materialization of the good that we hope for. I have to admit that the seasons, both those of the calendar and those of the Church, often run right by me, and I don’t look up until they are about over. But Advent is different and I think it’s because of the promise of awakening – specifically, awakening to hope.

Exactly what we are awakening to, in this season of Advent, is really up to us. We can choose how we want to receive, what we want to emerge in our lives. As with many things, how much we get out of the season depends on how much we put into it. Perhaps the best approach is to think deeply about who we want to be, what we want to pull up from our spirits, how we would create the world that works for all of us.

Eckhart Tolle said, “There’s something in everybody that longs for that awakening to be more true to yourself.” More true to yourself is a euphemism for living from our spirits to be the people we most want to be.

Going the next step into the actual awakening is a process that grows naturally out of regular spiritual practices. The list of practices is endless, and many spiritual practices have already been discussed in this blog. Choose two or three that work for you and practice them daily.

Psalm 17:15 “And I – in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”