A few months ago, I woke up very hungry one morning and was looking forward to my dose of strong, hot coffee. Unfortunately, that did not happen. What happened instead, was that the milk got spoiled. Since I had no more milk left, I had to stay hungry for the next two hours until the shops opened their shutters to grant me my boon.
Goner! Boom! What a pathetic start to the day! This is going be one miserable day! This was the pattern of thoughts that were running around my brain, ruining the said organ. So, I spent the rest of the day worrying about all things that might or might not happen that would send me rolling down the hill.
In between my worry and misery, I did not notice several things. My passport renewal request had been approved of very quickly, my son was happy over his improved test scores, and my husband surprised us by coming home early to take us out for dinner.
So, while my day had not been great, it had turned out pretty well. The only thing that stood between me and a great day, was my misery. Misery over an idea that if the morning did not go well, neither would the rest of the day.
Now why do we think that way?
Technically, our thinking is based on the accumulation of information that happens from outside. We think in certain ways because we subscribe to mass “theories.” I am talking about all those videos, banners and articles that talk about life lessons (including stuff from yours truly). And the more such theories we subscribe to, the more we program our brain to only think in certain patterns.
On one hand, we have positive thinkers who subscribe to the “rosy picture” idea, even when things are far from rosy. They try to see the good in everything, which is cool and all that. But it is only when we walk into the desert with the fear of getting lost, we would be better prepared for this walk. Everyone who scores in exams, scores because of sheer hard work. And neither of the situations has anything to do with mere positive thinking.
The problem with positive thinking is that it simply refuses to foresee the “what if” situations. And if you are a knowledgeable person, you would at once know that the “what if” situations do occur.
That is one hand for you. Now for the other hand. Here we have negative thinkers who subscribe to the “Everything is doomed!” idea. They are so used to repeating this thought pattern inside their mind that it feels as if they are indeed looking forward to “Doom.” These people tend to have a lot of feelings. This is because they have trained their mind towards thinking of life as a “drama” with several problem-situations that need to be enacted.
Well, I was in this second zone for a pretty long time.
Until I learned to un-think.
What is Un-Thinking?
The problem with both positive and negative thinking is that neither pattern looks towards the other. Because the positive thinking pattern is not used to the idea of problem-situations, it is also not used to the idea that problems need not ever happen in the first place. If only we foresee them and stop them from happening. How simple is that, instead of repeating to ourselves that “everything is going to be ok” when we are neck deep in troubled waters.
The negative thinking pattern subscribers, well, you read the miserable tale of un-drunk coffee…
Un-thinking happens when…
Yesterday, I once again woke up to a coffee-less morning and the idea that my day is going to drip depression. But the very next moment, I was also struck by the thought that five minutes of a cup of coffee cannot determine 24 hours’ worth of one whole day.
Now, you get the idea of un-thinking don’t you?!
Well, this un-thinking sounds a lot like positive thinking to me…
And that’s probably because you are a positive thinker yourself. Or are someone who subscribes to the negative thought pattern that looks for a problem in every situation.
Try some un-thinking, and you will immediately realize that what you are doing is not bringing the brakes on one thought pattern. Rather, you are shifting the gears into a neutral zone. By thinking that a lost cup of coffee does not a day make (excuse the poetic tone), I was only eliminating a silly thought theory. However, I was not thinking that the day was going to blossom cherries. Which the day did not.
While my day was filled with challenges, I did not let any misery cling onto my soul, depleting its energy reserves. I just learnt to let the stuff go.
And that is what un-thinking does to the soul. It helps you program yourself into letting go of things that are not under your control anymore.
All that is nice. But how do you un-think great thoughts? Besides, do we really need to?
When I was speaking with my brother today, he told me about the movie that he failed to get tickets for, was already booked for him by his colleagues. My brother was talking, but to me, he was singing, because he was that elated at the thought of having struck gold. But…in a sudden a moment, I heard him grow at his daughter. She was demanding chips and canned juice for breakfast instead of the healthy option that her mom had prepared for her. He spent the next two minutes complaining about my niece’s eating problems.
The point is, nothing lasts forever. Neither thoughts, nor feelings. The want to hold onto happiness or misery is also a want that will always go in vain. For both happiness and misery are two sides of the same coin called life. If we want to learn how to handle misery, we had better learn how to handle happiness.
The learning begins and ends when we program ourselves with the idea of letting go. So, feel the elation or misery for the moments that they last. But also know that the moment we learn to un-think, the feelings and thoughts don’t last forever. And what the feelings and thoughts give way to is something that everyone is searching for – Inner Peace.
Here’s to subscribing to the right thought patterns!