“With our thoughts we make the world.”― Gautama Buddha
Pay attention; be present. With the fast pace of the modern world we miss giving our thoughts any due attention. Thousands of thoughts race through our minds from the moment we wake to the moment we return to rest, but we do not recognize the patterns behind our thoughts nor their nature and direction. We also overlook their power. In other words, our thoughts emerge and travel in our minds rampantly and disorderly. Therefore, we act mindlessly, by which I mean we forget where we left our car keys, we do not recognize buildings that we pass daily until we must visit them, and we miss hearing the actual conversation we engage in as well as we even miss hearing ourselves speak in a conversation we initiate. A potential reason is because our thoughts are elsewhere multi-tasking: to-do lists, deadlines, emails, projects, presentations, how to resolve the morning argument with a spouse, coordinate and ensure the logistics are in place for kids’ busy after school schedules, and the list continues indefinitely.
We value mastery of multi-tasking in careers, education, and daily living; yet, we are not noticing how it is hindering our ability to live in the present moment. Our active listening skills are nearing dangerously close to the level of extinction. Individuals engaging in a group conversation are looking behind and to the sides of the person speaking at any given time, rather than looking at the speaker. Moreover, eye-contact is lost as well. Individuals are not as mentally present as they are physically present. Individuals are moving onto the next person, thing, and future too fast that they are missing life in the present. A similar argument exists for how individuals think about their pasts and miss their present reality as an outcome. Our desire for fast results and answers is lessening our potential in giving the entirety of ourselves to any task, person, or event. Our health and general well-being pays the price. Since we do not think about how we think, we incur stress, inefficiency, negative emotion, and failed relationships.
If we do not control nor familiarize ourselves with the manner in which we individually think and process, then the untamed thoughts will control the manner in which we perceive and interact with the internal and external world. For the former you are what you think. Therefore, if you mentally speak, think, and act negatively toward yourself, then you are creating your reality that others and yourself will believe is true. Implement strategies to short-circuit negative thinking and instead enable one positive thought to lead to the next positive thought. The same principle applies on the other side. If you mentally think the challenges of the external world are insurmountable, then they will be. If you think the external world is a bad, good, or a mixture of both bad and good place, then it is. By not giving our full attention to important tasks that attribute to our well-being such as nurturing our beloved relationships, we are thinking, doing, and feeling half-heartedly. Living whole-heartedly is better for reaching fulfillment, happiness, and connection.
The internal and external realms are constant powerful forces that if left undetected they will attempt to reduce you. Let us fight back and conquer one battle at a time by taking back control of our thoughts.