Today I want to share with you one of my favourite quotes from Eckhart Tolle. It inspired me so much that it forms the basis of Day 17 of the 28 Day Meditation Challenge. The first time I read this quote, it pretty much instantly made me wake up to the games my Monkey Mind had been playing with worrying. I hope it helps you!
It is a fact of life that we tend to get the things that we give our attention to.
I remember, many years ago, when I was learning to drive, that I would steer towards whatever I was looking at. If I got distracted by somebody on the pavement, I would unconsciously steer the wheel in the direction of my focus. If I looked over at my driving instructor, he knew that he was going to have to grab the steering wheel – fast.
Life is just the same. We tend to move towards that which has our focus and attention. But most of the time we’re running on auto-pilot, so we don’t even notice where that focus and attention is. We are at risk of worrying our way into a future we don’t really want, without even noticing!
People often ask me: “How on earth do I stop worrying?!”
For most of us, our Monkey Mind is like a tantruming child – constantly doing whatever it takes to grab our attention. If that means it needs to shout and crank up the drama, it will. If that means it needs to focus on quiet worrying, to create anxiety, it will.
It doesn’t mean that our Monkey Mind is ‘cruel’ or ‘unkind’ or wants to hurt us in any way. It’s simply that we have spent decade after decade teaching it to tell us the stories that we, at some deeply unconscious level, want to hear; need to hear.
While we let our mind run riot like an undisciplined child, we will experience the effects of its chaotic stories.
How do you return to choice with your mind’s thoughts?
- Set your intention
- Choose to believe that you can influence the thoughts you feed
Decades of letting your Monkey Mind decide how seriously it wants to take life will not be reversed by a single thought, right in this moment. It needs to learn discipline and how to concentrate. In fact, many traditions believe that training your mind is the key to inner peace.
Meditation and mindfulness, for example, really help by bringing us back to the present moment.
The techniques help us to relax, helping us to focus and concentrate. Then we can have clarity to see the difference between what is ‘real’ and what is the projection of our mind’s story.
Then letting go of worrying – deciding whether to water seeds of worry or seeds of hope – becomes a choice we actually have the power to make.
It’s about being able to choose. Want to discover how mindfulness can give you back your choice? It’s easier than you might think!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, via the comments box.