“If the only thing people learned, was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world” – Sydney Banks.
Being new to the understanding of the principle of thought, I had been pondering over the question, what is thought as opposed to thinking. In a moment of reflection I came to see our thinking as being the soundtrack to our thoughts.
Thoughts flow through our mind like photo images, all day long. We have conscious thoughts and subconscious ones. Often, they are triggered by our senses, things we see, smell or hear, which led me to the realisation, how we respond to our thoughts, is a lot like how we choose to listen to music, for example, we can listen to the radio not knowing what song will come up next (letting our thoughts flow), but understanding if we are tuned in to a certain frequency (our state of mind) it will play a certain kind of genre (positive or negative thoughts), or we can listen to a playlist we created, made up of songs we like, (controlling our thoughts).
I also thought about, how hearing an old song can trigger a memory, bringing you right back into that moment, it can put you into a trance like state, seeing the past event vividly replaying out in your mind, you feel all of the emotions you felt back then, and depending on the memory, it can make your heart soar, bringing a smile to your face if it’s a happy one, or tighten your heart, even bringing you to tears, if it’s a sad one.
As our thoughts flow, we regularly zoom in on one, triggering our thinking around that thought, which will most likely be habitual thinking, made up from past experiences, our learning, and our belief system. This trigger effectively turns up the volume on our thought, adding a soundtrack to the movie like scenes which begin running through our mind, be they romantic, sad, uplifting, scary and so on, each of which cause us to have an emotional response, such as, love, joy, fear, grief, etc. In turn, releasing the chemical associated to those emotions, into our bodies.
This is how we are made to function as human beings, and if our thoughts and emotions are balanced and we see them as just being a part of how we experience life, rather than our reality, we will have good mental and physical well-being.
However, it’s when we get stuck in our negative thoughts and the emotions they bring, such as fear, anger, grief, regret or shame, believing our thinking to be true, we can soon start to see symptoms of illness showing up, for example, if we are fearful our brain releases chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline as part of the fight/flight response, which was essential in our cavemen/women days, however, as we’ve evolved, it is rare we face such dangerous situations. Our brain reacts to our thoughts whether the danger is real or perceived and continues to release these chemicals until the danger has passed, or our fearful thinking has settled.
An example of this came to mind, as I remembered back to when I first watched a scary movie, I couldn’t help reacting to the threats playing out in front of me and was terrified at times by what was happening in the movie, at certain points I would get such a fright my heart would nearly burst out of my chest, leaving me with an elevated heart rate and shaking until I could talk myself round to the fact it was only a movie.
While I can look back on this now and laugh at my innocence, it made me realise, we also have these same reactions to our thoughts. When we get caught up in fearful thinking, it can feel real to us and leaves us with fearful sensations in our bodies, and while the odd fright does us no harm, if we are doing this long-term we start to feel the ill effects of it in our bodies and minds.
I want to stress, having fearful thoughts and reactions is part of being human, in fact being fearful in certain circumstances can be exhilarating, exciting and fun, (think roller-coasters). It’s only when we get stuck in our thinking about them for prolonged periods of time, believing them to be our reality, they can become a problem.
I also remembered back to when I was 13 years old, my siblings and I watched a tv series called “Salem’s Lot”, it was based on a novel by Stephen King and was about vampires, it was the most terrifying thing we had ever seen, and we were hooked. I remember one particular scene left us cowering behind cushions. Once we settled down from the fright, we couldn’t help but laugh at each other’s reactions. At times the soundtrack would change to a more threatening tempo, signalling the arrival of another terrifying part, which inevitably would send one of us running to the television to switch it off (pre-remote control😊), until we thought the scary bit had passed, however we didn’t like missing out on what was happening and decided to try it with the sound turned down, as we watched it that way, we laughed about how silly it looked now without sound and how it was no longer frightening to us, we were amazed to discover something as simple as turning the sound off, could take away it’s ability to frighten us. We could see it for what it was, moving pictures on a screen, which to be honest, made it kind of boring. This realisation made us brave enough to keep the sound up for longer periods, getting us to where we could watch it through, with no intervention needed.
And that’s all our thoughts are too, moving pictures flashing onto the screen of our consciousness, its only when we give them dialog by ruminating over them, that we make them into perceived real life, and if it’s the same scary or pessimistic talk, (your habitual thinking), you are giving your thoughts the ability to frighten or sabotage you, by simply lowering the volume on your thinking, gently quietening the chatter, you take that power away. This in turn, leaves space for inspiration to deal with whatever might be troubling you, or insight for a new way of understanding, or clarification to see your thoughts for what they are, formless energy, shaped to look real by your thinking.
Thanks for reading.
Namaste: “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth and of peace. And when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”