Last week, I was with a client who was struggling. We were discussing the role Thought plays in creating our moment-to-moment experience of life. When I asked him if it was making sense to him, he said, “Yeah. So what you’re saying is that I need to push away or smack down the bad thinking and just think better thoughts, more positive thoughts.”
The idea that we need to ‘manage’ our thinking, or do something to think ‘better’ thoughts or ‘more positive’ thoughts is a common stumbling block to really getting this understanding. And, by ‘stumbling block’, I mean just another thought to which we can cling believing that it is ‘understanding’. Really understanding this means getting that thoughts roll through our consciousness all day, every day. We don’t need to shape them or stop them or color them in any way. They take shape and pass away on their own without any help from you or me.
Still, many of us (me, too, sometimes!) are just like my client – believing that we need to make our thinking ‘better’ somehow in order to really enjoy life and live at our best. When I understood the thinking he was stuck on, I offered him this analogy:
I asked him to imagine that my office was just like the inside of our heads – a few pieces of furniture and some paintings on the wall, but still largely empty (pun intended – at least in regards to my head). Imagine, I said, that you had to be in this office and that there were four or five wasps in the office with you. What would you do? He said immediately, “I’d try to kill the wasps.” I asked him to imagine that the wasps were particularly quick and slippery and that no matter how hard he swung at them, he couldn’t strike them. What did he think would happen if he tried to ‘deal with’ them? If he swung and swatted and flailed – how would the wasps respond? What would you do now?
He looked stumped and said he didn’t know. I pointed out to him that there was a window in the office; what would happen if you opened the window? I asked. He thought for a moment and then the light came on and he said, “I’d do nothing. I’d just wait because the wasps would find their way out without me doing anything.” I told him that was my experience and that, in fact, not dealing with the wasps at all was just about the safest and most efficient way of addressing wasps.
This always-open window in our head is our Innate Health – our inborn wisdom and understanding. Mind is the space in which and as which wasps and desks and windows and waste cans and paintings appear. The truth is that Mind is always wide-open and available – we are living it and it is living us. Just leaving the wasps (thinking) alone allows them (it) to move through awareness and out the open window (we rest back in peace of Mind). This is what it means to rest in and as Mind.
The natural state of the ‘room’ in our heads is one of peace and ease. There is nothing we need to ‘do’ to get back to that. In fact, the more we try to ‘do’, the more we stir up the wasps – it’s no wonder they sting us.