When we get caught in strong opinions, preconceptions, memories and expectations, based on past experiences, we filter out a lot of important information that is available and emerging in the present moment. This way of perceiving is a product of our evolution and socialization, helping us to create a world of experience that is somewhat stable and predictable, but it comes at a cost.
When we ONLY perceive the world through the lens of past memory and experience we miss the uniqueness of what is emerging in the present moment. By suspending for just a few moments our judgements, commentary and decision making mind, we create space for novelty and fresh possibilities to be seen.
Practice: Thoughts are Not Fact
When difficult thoughts arise in the mind, about ourselves or others, notice how the thought is influencing your mood and how you are react to yourself and others. Next ask yourself these 4 questions:
- Is it true? – often the answer is, Well Yes. This is the brain initially reacting – the habitual autopilot you live with and believe is you.
- Is it absolutely true? – is this thought 100% accurate? Can you see the thought in a different way?
- How does this thought make me feel? – Notice any storylines you’re holding onto, and name your feelings: sad, angry, jealous, hurt.
- What would things be like if I didn’t hold this belief? – Imagine possible benefits to your relationships, energy levels and motivations.
Adapted from Uncovering Happiness by Elisha Goldstein and Love What Is by Byron Katie.