Friday, May 6, 2016

My Thoughts About Me, Myself and I

I have learned, during the past several years to imagine my thoughts as leaves floating on a stream.  Having a wet weather creek that runs through our property has helped me with this imagery. “Oh! Here comes one. Watch it float by. Oh! Here comes another one. It’s floating by as well. Look at this big yellow one. Wow, look at that orange one! Have a nice day, leaves.”
I recently heard a similar idea in an AA meeting: “The thoughts running through my head are like trains coming in and out of Grand Central Station. The trains come in, pause, and leave for somewhere else. Just because I see these trains come and go does not mean that I have to hop on and ride each one of them.”
I have thoughts that seem to come from nowhere. They stay with me until another thought – also coming from nowhere – takes its place. It is constant. Relentless. Unending. Like the leaves in my stream. But, I don’t have to grab one, bring it back, chew on it and make it my Now. But, often I do. That act disrupts my serenity.
I learned in AA that my thoughts, if taken seriously and acted upon, may very well  lead me to conclude I can have one, little drink. Just every once in a while. It won’t hurt me. I don’t have to tell anyone. Old-timers told me – “Your thoughts and your feelings are not REAL things. They are not reliable. They can change in an instant. They are very, very fickle and they don’t give a damn about you. Alcohol is a disease – cunning, baffling and powerful. So, Donnie, don’t drink today, pray, go to a meeting, share honestly and help someone. Do not listen to or act on your thoughts until you check it out with another person. Do this just for today, and remember, the rest of your life is none of your business.”
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) tells me much the same thing. Early in my study of the Course, I summarized important (to me) concepts from the first 30 Lessons in the Workbook for Students. I put this summary on one page of text as a quick “cheat sheet” for myself. This one-pager opens with:
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. I see nothing as it is now.   "The one wholly true thought I can hold about the past is that it is not here."
“Since I see only the past, my thoughts do not mean anything; I am upset because I am seeing something that is not there; my thoughts are merely images I have made. I only see what I am looking for. If my mind is preoccupied with the past – and all thoughts about the past are thoughts or images about illusions, and all I see is a projection of my thoughts – where does that leave what I am "seeing?" Nowhere! I am seeing reflections of my memories of an image or illusion. When I am picturing the past or anticipating the future, my mind is actually blank, because it is not thinking. It is only remembering my memories of an illusion.
“This idea totally engulfs my Ego in fear – if all that my Ego is showing me is meaningless, then I (and my illusionary world) are meaningless. My only option is to let God define my world and me. That is even more scary! It feels more "natural" to make my own meaning – with myself and my concerns at the center. If I let God make my meaning, then I have to believe that I, and all the things I value and fought for (including those things I believe are right and just), might be lost.
“This reality scares the bejeezus out of me, which puts me in a state of fear, rationalization, defensiveness, justification, projection, or disbelief – tools I use to protect "my" world. When I use these "tools," I am feeling like a victim/potential-victim/victor, all of which means that I am vulnerable and open to attack – believing what I see is true reality! Using my own past experience/learning to guide me is to continue to make my own meaning out of the world. By not doing this allows my Spirit Guide to speak to me and take His rightful place in my awareness.”
Today, when aware of my thoughts, it is critically important that I do not give them the weight of truth for me. Certainly, I have learned not to act on these thoughts, but, more importantly, not to give voice to them either. I try not to suppress my thoughts or feelings. But to begin talking about them – and hearing my own voice state them – seems to give those thoughts more power and substance. At least, in my mind, if I recognize these egoic thoughts for what they are, I have the opportunity to simply say to them: “Have a nice day. Bye.”
Then, I need do nothing except to still my mind by focusing on hearing the whispers of my Holy Spirit rather than all my egoic voices. I can remember I am not my body – nor am I my thoughts. I am an already-loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience.
As I stated last week, “I have to understand, on a visceral level, who the “Me” or “I” really is when I am speaking or thinking. The “I” that says to myself, “I really need a newer, more reliable car” is a different “I” than the one that says to my Holy Spirit, “I can’t do this anymore. Help me perceive things the way You see them.”
#2 May 2016

Copyright 2016

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