Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


“Yeah, riiiight…” “If you’re not worrying, you don’t understand the situation…”
Okay, we’ve all been there – had some irritatingly cheerful soul spout some nonsense about “don’t worry…think positive” or some such grating platitude, when we’re tangled with a situation that scares us. What’s wrong with the goody-goody unicorn rainbow person that he/she doesn’t get it! I’ve got to worry about it, because if I don’t…”

Stop it right there. “I’ve GOT to worry about it, because if I don’t…” Then what? What WILL happen should you STOP worrying about something?
  • Is a loved one suddenly going to wreck their life because you stopped worrying?
  • Is some situation going to crater or explode because you stopped worrying?
  • Is someone going to think less of you if you stop your suffering on account of someone else?
Well, maybe the last one.  But then, maybe that's a relationship to re-consider...

What IS worry, anyway? Worry is creating something you do not want. It’s that simple. Worry is the desperate action of focusing your thinking on something that you fear and do not want. Now, how on earth does that thinking improve anything? It doesn’t. It only increases your awareness of what else is “wrong” or “un-desired.” It’s very easy to worry about a mole hill - then find yourself under a mountain avalanche of grief.

The mental action we call “worry” is an energy launched at something that scares us. “Oh, gosh, I sure hope Fred doesn’t eat too many sweets over the Holidays, it’s bad for his health.” “The weather is terrible, I’m afraid Jane will have a wreck!” Of course the mental activity can be more nebulous and manifest as a chronic dis-ease regarding certain people or situations. I’ve even heard of physical manifestations – warts – in particular.

Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

Calvin Coolidge got it right. “If you see ten troubles coming down the road,” he said, “you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you and you have to battle with only one of them.” With an outlook like that, it’s easy to understand why Silent Cal was seldom anxious. Unfortunately, many people see the ten troubles and leap into action ten different ways. Some, fifteen or twenty – a typhoon of diffused activity.

Some Thoughts on Worry:

Worry has been described as the interest paid on trouble before it falls due or actually arrives. Many people go through the day paying a very high interest rate on their perceived troubles.

Worry is a part of the natural response to fear. Worry is a mental activity that attempts to satisfy an instinct to do something.

Worry feeds on indecision. Worry flourishes when someone perceives that he/she has no defense against the threat. Perceives sounds a lot like believes. The greater the worry, the more fearful a person feels about the situation. Worry in itself accomplishes nothing. But it sure burns up a lot of mental and emotional energy.

The above are notes in progress for a talk on Worry next week.  All in all, it boils down to deliberately choosing where you focus your immediate mental attention.  It's amazing how concerned many folk are regarding what they eat, or drink, or wear, or drive...but remain so casual about what and how they think!

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