Years ago, I remember these words having an impact:
"Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your destiny."
“You mean I have a choice?!?” I found myself wondering.
It really encouraged me to develop a regular meditation practice. A practice that, over time has helped me become more aware of the thoughts I'm visiting, which empowers me to take what the Buddha called "right action."
If I get caught up ruminating about the past; “Why didn't I ______?” (Fill in the blank). Or, like this morning, longing for a future moment; “When will I see my family in California again?” I suffer....but only 100% of the time. 😉
Worrying about when something might or might not happen has hardly been helpful. And, if I spend the entire day lost in thought, I lose out on so many potential lovely moments today. Like a virus, I risk spreading my negativity to anyone with who I come in contact. So, in this moment, I can watch my thinking, take “right action” (and perhaps a deep cleansing breath), and remember all is okay in this moment.
Another motivating factor; with a more clear mind and feeling more grounded in the present moment, I can truly be there for someone else. This motivates me to stay on the path.
Sure, some days, nothing feels better than falling apart in front of a friend and getting out all the heaviness brewing in my mind. Sometimes this is the “right action.” It’s human nature to support and be supported by others. But, with a little more awareness of when the thoughts arise, as they do, I can take “right action,” do what I need to do to take good care of myself; talk, write, cry, move, read, and let the moment pass. It’s why they call it a “path” and not a “perfection.”
So, today I am reminded, when I make it a habit to observe my thoughts, and subsequently, take “right action” I’m less likely to be unconsciously hijacked by my thinking mind and spiral down into a full-fledged funk. I can still use my thinking mind to hope (not worry) and plan for the future, or to learn from the past. But, my mindfulness practices teach me that I truly have a choice about my thoughts, actions, habits, and destiny.
Be well, my friends.