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, May 03, 2011

Fine Tuning

Everyone thinks.  Many are aware that they are thinking.  Some are aware that they influence the thoughts they are thinking.  And, there are those who select their thoughts as carefully as they choose their clothing, food, beverages, automobile, electronics, and so on.  This last bunch are probably having a good life.

The more folks are aware of their thinking, the more likely it’s understood that thoughts, like birds of a feather, do in fact collect/draw/attract/flock together.  It’s self-evident.  Getting out of the wrong side of the bed comes to mind.  When it rains, it pours.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.   Thinking is the most natural process of living.  Like gravity, it's pervasive and inescapable.  Also, like gravity, we may not fully understand what it is and why it does what it does, but we know how to make use of it.  Isn’t that enough?  Leaping off tall buildings sans parachute has a predictable (and verifiable) end.  Thinking about that gives rise to the idea of the parachute or glider and, suddenly, gravity is used to propel someone rather than smash them.  Thinking in action.

Fine-tuning thinking is fun.  Fun, in the sense, that it produces results.  Fine-tuning thinking is the process of aligning the conscious thought more precisely with the desire of the person.  For one desiring a happy, satisfying life, aligning the thinking with that desire is more likely to produce (create, if you will) similar situations/conditions/people for the thinker.  That’s just the way it works.  Yet fine tuning can be mischievous – it turns out that despite the best intention, the thought is still linked to something unwanted, or feared (it is impossible to feel good and bad at the same time.)

For instance, many positive folks are grateful for their blessings, family, friends, health, _____fill in the blank.  And truly, such gratitude is light years away from thoughts of despair and distress.  So, how would one “fine tune” gratitude?

Substitute the word appreciation for gratitude.  To be grateful carries an implication of an exodus – escape from some unwanted condition or situation.  “I’m grateful for my health (because I used to be sick” or, “because I could become ill.”)  “I’m grateful for this food (because it was no fun when I didn’t have enough food or hated what I had to eat.)  To appreciate is simply to look upon something pleasing and delight in it.  Period.  No strings attached, no beseeching a deity, no covering the bases.  Feel the difference:

“I’m grateful for you.”
“I appreciate you.”

Although appreciation is a delicate word, it is a more powerful thought.  That means the thoughts are attracting more of their kind rapidly.   The more one appreciates, the more there seems to be to appreciate, and since appreciation is feeling joyful, the more joyful is a person.

Some other fine-tuning:

Motivation?  Or,  Inspiration?   Motivation comes from an external force (or fear) while Inspiration comes from within.  One acts with enthusiasm when inspired.   Would you rather be motivated to do something, or inspired to do something?  More joy is likely with inspiration.

Which do you prefer - to be controlled?  Or, to be influenced?  When thinking of others and situations, is the thought one of control?  If I can get him/her/it to act right/behave, etc., then I'll feel better.  How many people have thought that of you?  Did it work?  Controlling someone/something is always a struggle.  To influence someone/something is quite different.  Much more subtle, no struggle, influence implies an internal response.

Stubborn?  Or, Persistent?  I know, many folks still harbor that adage that “stubborn is a virtue.”  It isn’t.  Stubborn is a thought and act of resistance.  Resistance by definition means impeding flow.  Stubborn is a struggle, and the struggle creates heat, which can burn and destroy.  I suspect when people (mis) use the term stubborn, they are really meaning their desire to persist.  To persist is to remain focused on a desired outcome or creation.  That’s a huge difference from stubbornness.  To be persistent is to use focus (thinking; mental attention) to step towards the goal.  The goal always is something which, when obtained, or achieved, makes the person feel better.  In a sense, to persist is to “go with the flow” of thought and energy, while stubborn is to resist and struggle.  Both are available.

Gratitude                    Appreciation
Motivation                  Inspiration
Stubborn                    Persistent
Control                      Influence

The columns line up, birds of a feather…

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