Thoughts just appear. They come out of nothing and go back to nothing, like clouds moving across the empty sky. They come to pass, not to stay. There is no harm in them until we attach to them as if they were true.~ Byron Katie
I’ve been working with this quote for a number of weeks. It’s one of those quotes that needs to roll around in your mind awhile before you can actually apply it to an experience in life. But once you get the hang of it, it’s fun, rewarding and quite eye-opening.
Think of it this way, each thought is neutral; it’s not positive, or negative, it just is. A thought, every thought, passes through and exits your being, if you let it. But oftentimes we grab that thought and turn it into a story. We embellish, embroider, and fancy up the thought, until it sticks to us like flies to fly paper. We believe our story as our truth and from there a story becomes a belief. And from there we make decisions and choices based upon that belief.
But what if we examined the story BEFORE it became so sticky? Better yet, what if we examined our story while it was still just a thought? If we held this thought in a neutral space, examined it, and fully understood it, maybe it would just pass us by, like a cloud moving through an empty sky.
Let’s try it. Let’s examine a thought and see what happens.
This morning as I awakened, I thought to myself, “It’s snowing again, ugh!” Yes, the flakes were thick and furious, and our driveway was covered in the white stuff. I knew that I would need to shovel the drive, and it’s a long drive!
This thought; it’s snowing again, is just a thought. It’s neutral in and of itself. But I attached a story to it without even realizing it. I said, “Ugh!” And in that phrase were all kinds of feelings, ideas about how I needed to shovel the drive and how I didn’t want to do that this morning. I wanted to have a quiet morning of reading and working, without a lot of physical exercise. I attached a story to the phrase it’s snowing again. This story was one simple word, ugh, yet its power is obvious. Because I believed this story, my morning was grumble fest, “I hate snow, I don’t want to go outside, I want to move to Hawaii!”
Instead of being in the present moment, I was in my story. My head was full of not-so-nice thoughts, my face was held in a grimace and I was frowning. I couldn’t appreciate all the wonderful things present that morning. The snow had turned the trees a fairy white and the sun was glistening rainbows on the mountain. My dog was prancing through the drifts, ever so joyous. My husband and I were thigh deep, shoveling in rhythm. We were together, both in good health and doing something aerobic. He wasn’t grumbling. Just me. Just me stuck in my story of “Ugh, snow is awful.”
I could feel a cloud of black and gray enveloping my aura. I’m sure everyone around me could feel it too. I’m conscious enough now of my aura and its ability to draw like thoughts to it, so I knew I needed to do something. I took a deep breath and examined my story. Was the snow really awful? Couldn’t I just let the thought drift by? Did I really truly believe the story snow has no redeeming qualities?
Thoughts are powerful and the more energy and attention given to a thought, the more powerful it becomes. And, thoughts are magnetic, attracting thoughts that are of the same vibration. If I kept up my tirade against the winter snow, I could magnetize to myself more thoughts of doom, gloom and unhappiness. And that I didn’t want!
But it doesn’t work just to replace negative thoughts with positive, happy thoughts. You have to believe those thoughts. That’s the key. Examine the belief and if it’s not true, then change it to what is true. In my case, I examined the story of snow having no redeeming qualities, and found that I could accept as my truth, snow is not all bad. I could come to a neutral position. Snow is snow. That is all. I could accept the truth of the present moment and rest in that neutrality. I didn’t need to go off the deep end the other way either. I didn’t need to jump up and down in joy over snow. That would have been false. Just resting in the truth, in the neutral present awareness was enough.
I stopped grumbling. I stopped believing my story. I could allow the thought to just pass me by. I rested in neutrality and shoveled the drive. I allowed the gray cloud to drain from my aura, and I returned to a state of present-time. I listened to my breath as I shoveled. I watched my husband next to me as we found our rhythm again. I changed my magnetic frequency back to gratitude and peace. I changed my reality. I shoveled, and I thought the thought, snow is just snow that is all.
Now, I’m not going to say that I stayed that way for the rest of my life, or even the rest of the day. It’s a constant conscious choice to allow a thought to just drift by. It’s not easy, but it is a choice.