I mean, what are you thinking? I ask this because most people are not aware of their thoughts and mostly don't control what they think? Don't believe me? Just try sitting and concentrating on your breathing for ten minutes. See how quickly thoughts arise that make you forget that you your purpose. And those thoughts: did you decide to think about that? No.
Often, just under the surface, we relive the past. Or we rehearse the future. Or we worry about how we look, or appear to others. Anything but living in the moment.
The appeal of sports and video games is that usually for the time we are doing these things, we are living in the now. And it turns out, this is a powerful experience. But since we don't often characterize what it is about it that makes it powerful, we don't ordinarily attempt to replicate the essence of the experience in the rest of our lives, we just do the sport or play the game again to replicate the experience.
If it was just that we could think and thinking remained in the mental realm, this would not be such a bad thing, I suppose. Or, perhaps, it wouldn't be as bad. But thoughts affect our physiology because we can not separate ourselves really into physical and mental, though many are under the illusion that these are separate.
When we replay a bad experience in our past, we get anxious. So too when we worry about the future. We feel good in a variety of ways when we relive past pleasant experiences or anticipate seeing a loved one. And when we dwell on our aloneness, we can feel anxious.
So what are you thinking? And how is it affecting you? Physically?
When the mystics say we live in a world of illusion, this is partially what they are referring to. Because our memories and our expectations are all illusions with respect to the present moment. The events these thoughts represent do not exist. But the moment we are living in does exist.
But often goes unnoticed.
This is not to say that we should live our lives only in the moment. Clearly we have the capacity to plan and imagine and both these functions we should take full advantage.
But we should strive to get control of how we use our mental capacities rather than letting them have full reign to do whatever. Periodically "checking in" to notice what you are thinking is a good start. Sitting for ten minutes and counting your breaths, 1 to 10, the starting over is a good exercise. If you lose the count, start over.
Gaining control of your relationship to the past, present and future is important if for nothing else, your physical well-being. If you are dwelling on thoughts that make you ill, you should stop doing that if you want to feel well. These subliminal thinking patterns are hypnotic in nature and are a mechanism for programming your brain for good or for ill.
Get control of your thinking patterns and get control of your life.
And as frequently as you can