I was cleaning out Fred’s ear yesterday morning, and some of the “stuff” flew into my eye. As I quickly made my way to the bathroom to wash it out, I thought, “OK Mary. What were you thinking when that happened?, and just as quickly, I realized that I had been thinking about my mother, who I’d visited the day before. She’d been criticizing a former friend of hers, and I was half-consciously thinking about this when the “crud in the eye” incident startled me into full consciousness.
I became aware of this pattern a number of years ago as a runner. I’ve very rarely fallen, but the times when I have tripped significantly, were always when I was mulling over a complaint, or having some one-sided argument in my mind.
I pay attention to everything in my life. I do not even consider anymore, that this is a random universe. Every little thing that happens, like tripping, reminds me to become conscious of my thoughts. Years ago, when I first started noticing this pattern, I would be very hard on myself for these lapses in thought, but being self-critical is no better than criticising someone else. Blame and critical thoughts are low energy, which if not changed, keep attracting more things to feel critical about. What I try to do now, when I catch myself thinking some unpleasant thought, is simply to say, “OK, enough of that. Let it go. What better thought can you think right now?”
The metaphor of life as a big classroom, where I get to try out a variety of approaches to living; find what works, and what fails, and to just keep advancing, is appealing to me. I’m not expected to do it perfectly the first time. I will make hundreds, maybe thousands, of “mistakes”, but I believe that we are all here to learn and grow, to day-dream and to pay attention.
“The ancestor of every action is a thought“. Ralph Waldo Emerson