Are you your thoughts or are you the thinker of those thoughts?
“What you you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” -Maya Angelou “Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now”
Thought is energy that triggers chemical and neurological impulses that allow us to perceive the thought. Thoughts are triggered by:
- Past experiences
- Future expectations
- Fantasy and imagination
In contrast to emotions, feelings are triggered by our thoughts. According to some estimates we generate approximately 60 000 to 70 000 thoughts daily. However, 90% of these thoughts are the same thoughts that we had the day before. This estimate is of course when we are “asleep” and labour under our habits and patterns.
Our thoughts are very much centred around our brain and by some accounts we cannot control our thoughts. Personally, I believe it is one of only three things we can control; our thoughts, words and actions. However, some thoughts are more difficult to control than others. When we start bringing awareness to this process and our thoughts, we learn about ourselves and our patterns and habits.
“the organismic self is the true self; it is there when we are born and it naturally strives towards growth, maturity and self-actualisation” – Carl Rogers
According to Rogers, and others, we strive to grow and become our optimal self, but our patterns and habits put up obstacles. We may take on new knowledge, but if we don’t make a concerted effort we will not embody that knowledge and make it in to wisdom. That is, shifting our thought process to reflect that new wisdom and understanding.
Our brains only take in raw data and presents it is our minds and our perception and past experiences relating to that data determines our reaction to it. This process can be conscious or subconscious. Feeding in a new programme to shift our perception of the data and past experiences requires us to exert control over our thoughts, as our thoughts reflect our perception and feeds our conscious and subconscious minds. It is this self-awareness and ability to self-reflect that allows us space to be mindful and to direct our thoughts where we want them.
There have been statements made that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”) is proof that we cannot control our thoughts. If that was the case, OCD would we an incurable mental condition. However, we know that OCD is indeed curable through therapy, hard as it may be, it is curable. Thoughts are very persistent and hard to control, but hard is not impossible. The trick lies is the tools and practices we use to directly or indirectly shift our perception and mindset that allows us to control our thought patterns. However, only when we are ready to venture down that path can the process begin. When we know and understand ourselves and our individual origins, we can begin to shift our paradigms and thoughts.