Thinking is not living.

6 Aug 2015

My friend Martin Stepek wrote this the other day – I think it is worth sharing.

"We are often consumed by our thoughts: concerns, planning, worries, anticipating, daydreaming.

Thinking is not the same as living. It's more like a commentary on a film than watching the film itself, or a guidebook to a city than being in the city itself.

So what is living?

Living is the raw experience we can only ever have in the present moment. And it can only be experienced in six ways – through our five senses and the immediate, undiscerned mental or emotional reaction to the events of any moment.

We know our five senses well even when we ignore their power or potential – and they do have power.

I was walking in Chatelherault Country Park yesterday, enjoying the views, plants, raindrops that were still settled on leaves. Then I noticed that my mind had wandered to Switzerland, to where my son is, newly out of hospital after a major scare.

This was me unintentionally thinking, ruminating on the ups and downs of his life in the past two weeks.

I let those thoughts and feeling evaporate by placing my attention to the raw sensations around me, and I was immediately hit by a beautiful smell of wet grass.

This instantly triggered a sense of raw pleasure which I was able to just be with, followed by a sense of appreciation that it was mindfulness practice that enabled me to move from serious thoughts to a lighter joyful real life sensation.

This doesn't mean it's wrong to think. That would be absurd: unhelpful in our lives, and moreover, impossible anyway as they come so thick and fast.

Instead we should think when we choose to think, when it's appropriate or helpful to think.

And we should choose which thoughts and feelings and moods and emotions to have rather than be pulled around in every direction, good and bad, at the volatile random whim of our minds.

Those unasked-for thoughts and moods so often remove us from being aware of our real life, the visceral tangible power of what our five senses and immediate mental response can bring to us.

This is why mindfulness is so important and helpful in our lives. It literally brings us back to the moment and all that is full and present for us in that moment. It is where joy and appreciation reside.

Think when you need to think. Thinking is a remarkable tool, but like any tool it is only useful when you use it at the right time and for the right purpose. And don't lose life through overthinking."

When could you let go thinking today and 'be' in the moment?


A Moodscope member.

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