Doesn’t your own mind fascinate you? As human beings, we have a front row seat to the working of our own mental processes. For me, it is so interesting to witness where my thoughts go. And then notice how it feels when I get there.
This practice of being a witness to your own thinking process is part of living a conscious life. It is the first step on the road to enlightened thinking. Because you can’t engage in enlightened thinking without mental mastery. And you can’t master your thoughts without noticing what they are up to.
Have you ever noticed that your mind has a penchant for being a perpetual worry machine? It seems to me that this tendency comes from our mental ability to think through problems. If I’m working on something practical—like fixing my laptop, remodeling a room, or planning a garden —my mind has a wonderful ability to think through all the issues involved. Like a dog chewing on a bone, it just keeps working on that thing until it is all figured out. I think of worrying as that same ability of the mind applied to larger things in my life that don’t need figuring out. Worrying is the mind on automatic pilot, chewing that bone, chasing its tail, and going around in circles and getting nowhere.
If I don’t notice what is happening when I turn into a perpetual worry machine, gloom sets in. I stop enjoying the world. I stop thinking creatively and engaging positively with what is right in front of me. My agitated mental state starts to affect my emotional state. Sound familiar?
It is not that the larger things of life take no thought. But how am I going to think about them? And if now is not the time to think about those issues, how do I stop chewing that bone and stop chasing my tail?
Many people I meet have never come to the point of realizing that they are not what they are thinking. So the way they experience themselves is defined by whatever thought is floating through their mind. That’s a good recipe for being bossed around by your own mental processes.
You can’t master something unless you enjoy a degree of separation from it. Because you can’t even see it as long as you are identified with it. You have to stand back from it to witness it and then guide it. This is the road to enlightened thinking.
When you witness your own mind you have the opportunity to stop being bossed around by it. Your own mind can be a terrible bully. A pit bull! It’s in your best interest to turn that around so that you are the boss of your own mind. That’s how it’s s’posed to be.
Ultimately, you want to be a beneficent boss of your mind. You are the sovereign—the king or the queen of your being and of your realm. Your mind is your magician. The magician of the realm doesn’t rule it. The magician serves the sovereign.
If you are the sovereign of your being and therefore your mind’s boss, it is important for you to give your mind some work to do; something creative to think about instead of worrying. There are times a person has to direct their mind away from trying to figure things out to visioning a positive future. Sometimes there is nothing to figure out. It may be time for creatively imagining what you could manifest in your life.
If you don’t put your mind to work in this way, it will put itself to work and worry about all the things that could go wrong in your life. Then it will not only put itself to work. It will put you to work, trying to manipulate your life to avoid all those things that could go wrong. At that point, you have become a slave to your own mind. Not a pretty picture!
We all need to give our mind the job of creating what is new and wonderful in our life. This is enlightened thinking. It may be a new project, a new relationship or simply a new idea. It may be a new way to do the project you are already doing. Or a new way to be in the relationship you already have.
For me, this article is an exercise in enlightened thinking. And I have implemented other practices that develop my capacity to think creatively: song writing, extemporaneous public speaking and poetry to name a few. How about you?
To really get the hang of putting your mind to work creatively, it’s helpful to develop a practice of enlightened thinking. Here are some guidelines for that practice:
- Choose a field of creative endeavor. Here are some possibilities:
- An art project
- A craft
There are endless possibilities.
- Don’t concern yourself too much with the usefulness of the end result. Remember that you are using this to exercise your enlightened thinking.
- Your mind might tell you it can’t think of anything. It doesn’t know where to start. It may try to boss you around in this way and tell you it doesn’t want to work for you. It wants to worry. Beginning is a wonderful way to take charge of your own mind.
- Your mind may tell you that it’s tired. It has run out of ideas. It wants to go back to worrying. Continue.
- Let it flow. Enjoy the creative magic of what is coming through you.
- You may find your mind telling you that what you are creating is unimportant. It is not solving the very important problems that your mind wants to worry about. In the face of this objection, believe in the significance of your enlightened thinking and where it is leading you.
Take the attitude that enlightened thinking begins here and now.
When you implement a practice like this on a regular basis, you find that your enlightened thinking spills over into the rest of your life.