Your thoughts

You think too much.” This has been said to me many times over the years. I disagree. I think most people don’t think enough. I value thinking as our most powerful tool for self-development and actualisation.

I admire people who commit their whole life pursuing one train of thought trying to work something out: scientists and mathematicians for example. Einstein is one of my heroes, but I guess I am not alone there. The Dalai Lama is another unique and remarkable person intent on making positive change for us all through applied thought.

In our own small lives we can make grand improvements simply by applying our thoughts. Many mistakenly believe they are thinking when they are merely reacting. A day spent in constant stimulation and consequent reaction to the words of others is a day wasted in my opinion. Anxiety and worry is not productive thinking. Automatic thought patterns repeated time and time again, year after year, are not beneficial, locks us into repeated behaviours, and deepens the tangled crevasses in our brain.

Have you experienced those “light-bulb moments”? Often these are the impetus that moves us out of our former patterns of thoughts.  Like an electron jumping out to a larger orbit of a nucleus, our world expands.

As a design student I learnt lateral thinking, creative thinking, thinking outside the box; but these do not come naturally. Most of us stay inside the box, unaware of our own individual power to do more. We might react, complain and worry but nothing more.

There is so much helpful advice available that is practical in teaching your brain into new ways of functioning. Edward de Bono’s books are a great place to start: Lateral Thinking and SixThinking Hats are easy to read, understand and apply. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is more complex but new gems of understanding can be found each time it is read.

Intentional thought is an interesting concept approached from various angles by different people. Meditation books tell us about “the gap” when emptying our minds, and the power of dropping our intentions into this gap. James Redfield illustrated “intention” in his colourful The Celestine Prophecy. The Law of Attraction has been given dubious attention by some authors, and yet the thinking methodology is a true gift for those who choose to add it to their box of thinking tools.

If you wish to really challenge thought, existence, purpose, reality, then A Course in Miracles may be the one for you. Or for a lighter, fun-filled parable about thought and reality try Illusions by Richard Bach. (The undisputed Top of My Best Ever Reads List)

Feeling bad? Then apply your mind to the problem. Is it physiological? Perhaps environmental? Don’t just feel bad and react badly. Step back and think. There is a way forward and it is up to you.

Of course, not-thinking can be a valuable and necessary respite from our busy days. Emptying our minds of rubbish allows the new positive brain activity to continue afresh. It has been documented somewhere (?) that repetitive physical movement is the perfect activity that empties the mind and allows the fresh ideas to appear: walking, swimming, running, exercising, dancing, and cycling.

So switch off the TV and your computer, get off your arse, go for a walk, empty your brain, then ask yourself, “Why am I thinking this way?” Then apply your amazing natural ability to think your way forward in creating the life you really want and deserve.

But it is not a “one-stop-shop”. It is a daily practice and commitment. Some days we will do better at it than others. Fortunately these days reminders and prompts are readily available online from the blogs of great thinkers, or by connecting via social networking tools to discussions on these topics. For example: http://twitter.com/ACIM_lessons and http://twitter.com/Edward_deBono and http://twitter.com/DalaiLama