If I wrote down all of the stories I told myself throughout my life, I think I would become as successful an author as Stephen King:) Seriously though. My entire life I have played movie after movie in my head. I was constantly hearing this voice inside that told me to be upset about that thing that happened in the past. Or this thing that was going to happen in the future. Over and over again. Non-stop. Everyday. 24/7/365. For fifty years.
Like I am sure with most people, I would relive moments from my past and self narrate them. I would project events in the future and play them in my head BEFORE they ever happened. I would reflect. I would project. All the while losing sight of the most important thing I had which was the exact moment at hand, right in front of me.
And then, all the movies stopped playing.
I discovered perhaps the greatest single truth I had ever learned in my life…that they are all just stories and I don’t have to listen to them. WOW! It was that simple. And once I shut them off, everything changed. Stress went away. Anxiety all but disappeared.
I credit many books such as The Untethered Soul, Buddha’s Brain, Dr. Wayne Dyer’s entire library of books, the great Thich Nhat Hanh, my Buddhist practice, and fully embracing meditation as helping me achieve this breakthrough. I am trying to teach it now to my kids and anyone who will listen because I am so sure it will alleviate so much stress in life, enhance relationships and, ultimately, lead to a more healthy and relaxed state of mind.
Here are some great quotes I love about this practice of controlling your thoughts, shutting off your brain and practicing mindfulness:
Now, I am so much more aware of my thoughts. So when I start to observe that the movie is starting, I simply return to this knowledge and move the thought along by saying “I choose not to listen to you, for you are not real.” Works every time.
But also critical to this understanding is the practice part. For me, meditating twice a day, doing yoga and also practicing mindfulness is essential in maintaining this knowledge. It’s like exercising once and expecting to remain in great shape. You have to commit to it everyday.
Besides being so much clearer and present in all of my experiences, and finally curing my stress addiction, I have come to see life from a deeper, more spiritual place as a result of my meditation and mindfulness practices. When you have such clarity, you see the beauty of life all around you. You see the miracles in all of the smallest things from eating a piece of fruit, to walking in nature and just simply breathing…all the things we take for granted when we are lost in our thoughts and lost in our electronic connections. As a result of being mindful in every moment, you see the mystery and magic of something much bigger and more profound than just yourself. And you can’t help but feel grateful and connected to some deep sense of magic in the Universe.
My hope is that you, too, will become more aware of your thoughts and how they can trick you into believing a false narrative. And how easy it is with a distracted, multitasking mind to lose sight of all of the beauty that life affords each of us. When you are truly present, and you learn to shut off the noise and shut down the distractions, you can truly live in a state of complete wonder and joy.