For many years I had a spiritual teacher. His name was Patrick and he lived in the Western Cape in South Africa. Several times a year I would travel to wherever Patrick was to be in his presence and listen to his wisdom. He was a revered teacher and spiritual guide and had a following that bewildered me because he didn’t always come across as gentle and patient but would often say things that, in my opinion wasn’t the kind of thing a spiritual man should use. In other words, I held onto an idea that was given to me and became my belief that spiritual people should only use pious and proper language, it made me judge this beautiful and soulful man.
Today I know that words are just words and we place value on them according to our own beliefs and ideas. Not wrong – not right – just words. I no longer take words personally, especially when they come from someone who is angry, upset or in a low mood. (to set the record straight, as a teacher I rely on my spirituality and these days I sometimes use expletives that may not always land gently with some folk).
One of his favorite sayings, on hearing from one of his students of the awful circumstances of their life and the suffering they were experiencing, was “Oh, just drop that sh@$! It seemed funny until he said it to me and I took it personally. I felt slightly invalidated and unheard but since I wasn’t the only one at the receiving end of his dismissal, I accepted it and moved on. That was more than 10 years ago.
Fast forward to today and what I now recognize is that Patrick was giving the ‘suffering’ an opportunity to release the story (mostly made up) and create a new story (humans are pretty good at that) even if it meant we would be offended. In our upset state, we got to make him the cause of our suffering and so our thinking would shift from one of being a weak and passive victim to being angry and annoyed and the problem no longer was the problem because a new problem took its place. Genius!
Since working with the principles that the Scottish mystic Syd Banks articulated, I’ve realized something for the first time. The principles of how Mind really works helped me see the truth. The truth is I don’t need to manage my thinking because I can’t, but I can feel all the feelings and by doing that, something amazing happens. The feelings pass because the thought changes and since everything I feel starts with the way I’m thinking at the time, I’ll naturally move to the next thought (and feeling) and the next thought (and feeling) and so on…… it’s just the way we’re designed. Have you noticed how quickly something can distract you and you’re off onto something other than what you wanted to focus on?
This is natural. We all do it. It’s the way it’s supposed to work. I think Patrick knew that and instead of getting all caught up in a thought storm about how to fix it, change it or remove it or trying to ‘counsel’ us through it he did something much more powerful – he just dropped it!
Here’s the thing. Most things we worry about we make up. Why? Because it’s a bad habit and we’ve never been taught that the more we worry, the more we worry and that habitual way of thinking will cause us to feel our thinking, not our circumstances. Most anxiety is caused by worrying about something in the future and we don’t know and can’t know what the future holds. Yes, we may have some influence over it but to a large degree, we can’t control it. As Mark Twain said:
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened”
So, my message today is to just “drop that sh#@ and see what happens. You might want to blame me if you feel angry and upset and I’ll be ok with that. And maybe, you’ll discover for yourself that the simple intention of suspending your thinking about some made up future, will give you some idea of the illusory nature of thought.
“Your thoughts are like the artist’s brush.
They create a personal picture of the reality you live in”
~ Syd Banks
I’d love to hear if you’ve noticed yourself making up stories about your life, your past or your future. Once you’ve ‘seen’ that, you cannot ‘unsee” it and the whole game changes. If you would like help to create new habits of creating what you want rather than worrying about what might go wrong, then you need a coach. Mindfit Coaching Academy has amazing coaches who are fully certified to help you. Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
All my love