Entertaining a thought without accepting it

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
~Aristotle

I finished my last post commenting about the ever changing nature of thought. This is a subject that I will likely come back to time and again because it is this simple idea that makes it easier for us to live our lives with greater ease and grace.

Whenever I speak with people about thought, everyone agrees with the fact that our thinking changes from moment to moment and that we can not predict what thought we are going to have at any moment in time. Usually, this topic includes a discussion about how if we let go of a thought, it will be replaced with a new thought and this is where most people put up a challenge, which is to say that when they are upset, it is difficult to stop thinking about what they are thinking about.

As I am sure you can appreciate, it is much easier to have this discussion in person but I’ll do my best to address this in a short and simple way.

Our thinking will change if we let it change. What most people do is try to stop thinking of a thought or stop feeling the way they are feeling. In an over simplified way of saying it, as soon as they recognize that their emotions are a result of their thinking and that their thinking will change on its own, without any effort or focus, they will be able to manage their lows with greater ease. Most people get stuck in spirals thinking about not wanting to think about what they are thinking. And then say that they are trying not to think about it.

The nature of our thinking is transient by design. It will always change if we let it.

As for me, I understood deeper than I ever had before one night when I was upset at my partner because she had done something that I felt hurt by. In the midst of my emotions, the idea of, “you live the feelings of your thoughts,” came to mind and I realized that I was feeling hurt, not by what my partner had done, but by the thinking that I had associated to that. I didn’t really know what thought it was that I was having but could feel its roots going to some earlier parental link. I didn’t try to trace it but as soon as I recognized that it was my thoughts and not my partner’s actions that had me feeling the way I was feeling, I felt a tremendous moment of peace.

At other times, when I find myself stuck in my emotions (thinking), it might take me a while to settle down but I don’t given them much importance any more because I know they will change as soon as my thinking changes. Likewise, when my partner is in a bad mood, I respect her and support her but don’t read into them and get affected the way I used to because I know her mood will change as soon as her thinking changes.

“Easier said than done,” is what my mother always tells me. All I can say is that if you point yourself in this direction, you will have an insight one day that will show you that it is actually much easier than you think. What’s holding all of us back is our own thinking about it.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in discussing this in more detail because as I said, it’s easier done over a discussion vs. an individual post.

Lots of love,
Daniel

PS – May the four winds help guide your way.