Lately, I’ve been reminded how our thoughts can be far from the truth.
In my work as a language teacher, I often find that my mind predicts how certain classes will go. It’s easy to get sucked into that story and to take it all as 100% truth. Yet when I’m in front of the class, it is always different than my thoughts claimed it would be. Perhaps in small ways, perhaps in big ways, but always different.
I find the same happens with thoughts about people. We can be so convinced about someone’s motivations and how they will react that we create back-up plans in our minds. Yet, more often than not, they surprise us.
Thoughts aren’t an enemy – they’re a sign that we are alive. Our minds never have all the details about a situation. So why do we take our thoughts as the truth?
For me, practicing mindfulness and meditation regularly has built up my habit of observing. It is possible to see what really is happening and respond appropriately instead of blindly reacting without having all the facts. Anyone can do this and it just takes practice.
How to Check Your Thoughts
The next time you find yourself immersed in a thought, try this:
- Take a few concious breaths with your awareness on your belly as it rises and falls.
- When you feel calm, ask the thought if it’s 100% true. Ask this question as many times as you want.
- Really look at the thought. See for yourself how true it really is.