Beauty and joy in the midst of pain and uncertainty. I keep waiting to have only the good part, but each day arrives with both.
Byron Katie said, “Who would you be without that thought?”
Imagine for a moment: you are not you, with your experiences of life.
You are a brand new person, dropped into the life you now live. Downloaded into your brain are the skills and knowledge you’ve gained over your lifetime but you have no conscious thoughts about those tidbits of information; you are just noticing that they are there and might be helpful. You have the same people in your life - you know the facts about your relationship with them only as told by pictures - snapshots taken over time. You have no thoughts about that history. You get your physical body - as it is - healthy, struggling with whatever ails you but without any of the thoughts you currently have about your body or health.
You are a brand new person dropped into the circumstances of your life. The difference between you now and the new creature living your life is that the new creature has no thoughts, stories, or judgements about that life. The new you has no expectations.
Walk around in your life today as if you are experiencing it for the first time. Notice the details you take for granted. Oh, there is coffee here and food in a refrigerator. Water comes out of this faucet. Someone just kissed me on the cheek. Birds are singing and I have a yard - oh, there’s a flower over there! There’s a baby in this crib - chubby and sweet smelling. I have a cell phone but I don’t want to look at that, there’s too much to see around me. A breeze is making the tree limbs move. The air is warm and moist. I can breathe.
If a new YOU entered your life, without all the judgements, expectations, frustration and self-sabotage, what would they do with it? How would they engage with the people and opportunities all around them if seen with fresh eyes and NO old thoughts?
We rarely get a chance to do this. Our mind always steps in, like a controlling, overprotective parent from the moment we wake up, reminding and warning us about how things really are - in those relationships, in our possessions and surroundings, in our work or potential work. Our brain explains HOW IT IS to protect us.
What would you do with the life you’ve been given if you didn’t have any preconceived thoughts about it - if there were no assumptions or old stories?
Relationships - what if all you had was a silent film of the entire history without any of the feelings or interpretations?
Work - what if you could look at your gifts, skills, ideas, and opportunities as just a box of tools that you could use however you want? What if you had none of the thoughts your brain has offered for years about how painful it would be if you failed or disappointed someone, or didn’t make x amount of money? What might you choose to do?
Could you be in awe of your life today?
That part of your heart that feels the awe, even for a moment - that’s the REAL you - the one who was created by God in love and made for a relationship with Him forever. That part of your heart that feels a little flutter of joy, that feels like a child - that is the REAL you, created with gifts to bring into the world in your own way.
It’s impossible to hold together this interesting meditation, but it’s worth doing often. We are human. We have human brains, designed to interpret the world and mitigate danger in all its forms - physical and emotional. Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance and explains, “Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.” The key to life is to challenge this resistance. It’s the battle of a lifetime.
So I’m asking myself today and repeating it as often as possible in every situation, “Who would you be without that thought?”
The truth is, our mindset determines our results in life. If I’m honest, I know that a person who thinks differently could take over my life, my gifts, my experience, my resources and make all kinds of magic. Why don’t I do that? Because I’m not thinking at that level. I’m sabotaging my own life. It’s like the life I want to live is just beyond a thin veil - a parallel version of my life exists - if only I would get out of my own way and step into it. What stops me? Resistance. Fear. My brain. My limiting thoughts.
How might your life be different if you took your thoughts captive; if you noticed how believing them is creating feelings, driving action, or inaction and determining the results in your life? What if you questioned them and replaced them with better thoughts? Would your life be different?
The scripture commands us, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
What if we took that work seriously?
Might we not enjoy the life we have been given more? Might we not get to hear in the end, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23.
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