Mindfulness Meditation

Just Because You Think It…

…doesn’t mean it is true.

OK, be honest about this question:  How often do you think to yourself “this person doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.”?  How often do you KNOW that the other person is wrong?  Yes, you know the truth here, you think it a lot!  So do I, frankly.  We’re always assuming we’re right and the other guy is wrong.

Now, think about it this way: How often does somebody hear what you have to say and think “this person doesn’t know what he/she is talking about”?  Ha!  Got you there.  Just as often probably.

I think it is natural that we assume that if we think it then it must be true.  In a way we’re programmed to believe ourselves.  But how often do you hear someone else and realize they’re wrong, and try to correct them?

Just because we think something doesn’t mean it is true.  Letting go of that assumption is liberating; I am no longer trapped by my automatic thoughts and prejudices.  I am free to regard my thoughts as mental events occurring in my brain that can be witnessed, understood, and accepted for what they are, and nothing more (and nothing less).  When I am free to believe or disbelieve my own thoughts, I am free to exercise that greatest of human capacities, the ability to reason.  If I can exercise the ability to reason, then I can make my next choice based on the wisest action, which may or may not conform to how I was thinking automatically about things.  Combining mindful observance of thoughts with mindful observance of events, my reactions become responses as I exercise reason.

Let go of your need to be correct.  Use your reactions wisely as an indication of what MAY be going on, but see each situation with clarity, as it presents itself to you, and consider all of the possibilities for a wise response.

Mindful living invites us to observe the flow of our thoughts, without drowning in them.  This act of humility weakens the grip of ego on our actions.

One last thought.  If you habitually doubt your ability to reason, consider the possibility that your doubtful thoughts are wrong, too!



By Jim Walsh

I am a Pastoral Counselor in private practice in Wilmington DE. I teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction as part of my work as a therapist.

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