Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thought Travel

Thoughts have power. Our lives are ruled by our thoughts. We are what we think. Our thoughts become us.

Countless books have been written about the power of our thoughts, and I have probably read a good many of them. For some time now, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reading about our thoughts and how to control those thoughts. Recently, I have had an epiphany, an ah-ha moment, about thoughts, how our thoughts really do affect us, and how they control our lives.

Every choice, every decision, and everything we do and say is based upon past experiences. We are a product of our upbringing, our environment, our beliefs, and those experiences we have had in the past. All these color our current day perspectives. Our perspectives, or the way we look at our lives and our world, become our present moment reality.

Everything that we experienced in our past, from the moment you read this word, back until the time you were born, is no longer an experience, but a memory, or a thought. It is no longer your reality. Your memories are now only thoughts.

Let’s look forward into your future. For the majority of us, we have no idea what is going to happen from this moment forward. We may have plans and ideas of what will happen, but even those are just thoughts. They are yet to be your reality. Many of us fantasize about things happening to us in our future. My fantasy is to travel all over the world, meet people, and have a great and exciting life. I can conjure up wonderful stories in my mind. Go on exciting adventures with really neat people. Write books. Be a successful motivational speaker. The sky’s the limit. But again…until they happen, they are just thoughts.

Now, let’s compare the thoughts from your past to the thoughts of your future. Is there any difference between the two? You might say, “Of course there is. The thoughts from the past actually happened.” But did they? Stay with me here. Your perspective of what actually happened colors all your thoughts from your past. Someone else, who may have been in on the same experience with you, may have had a different perspective of that experience resulting in different current day thoughts. Whose thoughts contain the actual reality of what in fact really happened? Or are they just thoughts?

If memories are just thoughts, can we go back and change those thoughts to have a different outcome? Many of us wish we could go back and change the outcome of various experiences. Well, why not? They’re just thoughts. We can re-write the script and have any outcome we desire. We can change bad experiences into good experiences. Change the memory; change the thought.

Is it easy? It depends on how traumatic the experience was and how attached you are to the trauma attached to the memory…or thoughts. Let me give you an example. At one time, I thought this process should be very simple. I had read about various processes one could use to do so, and thought that anyone should be able to do so with ease. Until I met Chip (real name changed for privacy). Chip came into work one day with a bandage on his head. Apparently, he was driving home one day and came upon a car sitting on the side of the road with a body lying near by. Being an EMT (emergency responder), he instinctively stopped his truck and started over to help. All of a sudden, the man in the road got up and started shooting at him, grazing his temple and knocking him out. I cannot remember the rest of the details of the incident, but I do know that this severely impacted him emotionally. Since that time and for several years afterwards, he found that he was unable to get hardly any sleep at night.

In my ignorant wisdom, I would try suggesting to him that he try these processes. I couldn’t understand how or why he couldn’t just get past this. Until I had an unfortunate experience with a road rager. The man almost ran me off the road (I wasn’t going fast enough for him even though I was going the speed limit), and then he stopped his truck in front of me, got out, and started yelling at me. I was smart enough to lay on my horn to attract attention and he left. The problem is that he lived right up the road from me. A State Highway Patrolman we knew said this man was a hothead and to just stay out of his way. From that moment on, every time I saw his truck, I would have a panic attack. I lived in literal fear for the next few weeks. Fortunately, I was getting ready to buy a new car, and once I got the new car, some of the fear subsided, though I would still have a mild panic attack whenever I saw his truck. Now it was time to try my own advice and change the memory so that I could change the thought. Ha! Didn’t work for me either. At the time.

Then I had this ah-ha moment about memories only being thoughts, and that there is no difference between our thoughts of the past and our thoughts of the future. They are all just that….thoughts. They all have the same energy. The only time we place a different energy to them is when we add our emotions to those thoughts. Nothing has meaning except for the meaning that you give to it. Change the meaning, change the thought.

Since I came to the realization that the past is only thoughts, I have been able to release my emotional attachment to those thoughts. Thoughts that kept me in chains no longer have as much, if any, power over me. I can let them go because I now know that they are just my fantasies of the past. They no longer have the power over me that they once had. I can be the observer rather than the player.

One idea to help make the transition from experience to thought is to see everything that happened to you in the past on a TV screen. See it as just a TV show or a movie. If you don’t like what’s playing, turn the TV off. See the screen go blank. Realize that it wasn’t real. You can write the script for next week’s show and have a different outcome.

I do realize that this isn’t easy for those of us who have had very traumatic experiences. Those traumatic experiences become our identity and our story. So start small. Take baby steps. You may not understand all of what I’m writing about right away. Goodness, even I didn’t get it at first and I’m the one who thought it up.

I also realize that there are those who have severe emotional issues (to the point of being medically diagnosed) who have no conscious choice of their thoughts. As I stated earlier, all of our choices and decisions are based on past experiences, conscious or unconscious. When I had my breakdown and suffered from severe depression, for the next couple of years, it was extremely difficult to change my stinkinthinkin’. Fortunately, I had already learned about the power of our thoughts and I was able to consciously begin the process of changing those thoughts to a more positive energy, and therefore, heal a lot quicker than the average person. I even amazed my therapist.

Life is all about thoughts. We can consciously control those thoughts. It takes practice. So, when you mind travel in the past or the future, know that you are traveling in a vast universe of thought energy. All one energy. Work towards making those thoughts to be thoughts of love, peace, harmony, happiness, and well-being.



1 comment:

Joe Ganci said...

You are making me think hard! So now I have a new set of thoughts to consider! Thanks for a very thoughtful (no pun intended) essay.