Over the last few years, I have read many books on successful people and on the Law of Attraction. The Main point in all of them is that you are what you think. In fact, Napoleon Hill author of Think and Grow Rich considers our ability to control our thoughts and direct them to whatever ends we desire the greatest Divine gift of all. So why do so few of us make use of such an awesome gift?
The biggest lie that we tell ourselves is that we can’t control our thoughts. I know that is a really strong statement, and it is the truth. When I listen to others talk, I often hear “I just can’t help it, these thoughts enter my head and I can’t get them out.” As long as we believe this lie, we will be held captive by our thoughts and imprisoned in an unpleasant reality.
Deepak Chopra, M.D. states, “The average mind thinks 60,000 thoughts a day, 90% being the same thought as the day before. Our tormentor today is ourselves left over from yesterday. Protect your thinking; it’s all you have that is yours. Others cannot invade it without your permission. They can take away your possessions, your loved ones and your liberty, but they can never take away your thinking. You choose that.”
Protecting our thinking and taking responsibility for our thoughts does take effort. It requires consistent attention to what is floating through our mind and evaluation of whether or not each thought is helping us to be who we want to be or to get where we want to go. It involves training our minds – disciplining our thoughts.
I love the analogy Jack Kornfield, a Buddhist monk, uses to describe the process disciplining our thinking. He compares training our minds to training a puppy. For those who have had the opportunity to train a puppy, you know that it can be a frustrating, push-your-patience-to-the-limit experience. Just getting the puppy’s attention is often a challenge. Then once you have their attention, if you tell them to sit and show them what to do, they will stay seated for approximately a nanosecond. Then they are off, running about and getting into all types of mischief. It takes patience and persistence to teach them “come”, “sit” and “stay”. It does not happen overnight. If you stick with it, the rewards are huge.
So it is with training our minds. We must first recognize when we are thinking negative thoughts. This involves paying attention to what goes through our minds. Are the thoughts we are thinking in each moment supporting us or hindering us? As soon as we begin to think negative thoughts, we have to say “stop” and choose what we want to think about instead.
Like the overactive puppy, our mind will remain on the positive thought momentarily and then quickly return to the negative thoughts. It is our responsibility to keep directing our thoughts back to where we want them to be; to where they best serve us and support us in being who we want to be and getting us where we want to go. It takes vigilance, patience and persistence. It does not happen overnight. If you stick with it, the rewards are huge.