Teaching yoga I get to regularly interact with attractive ladies. As you might imagine, thought bubbles related to their prettiness arise from time to time. While I’m realizing this is normal and natural, the danger is when I identify with these thoughts, which is all too common for us. It seems to me we’ve made an idol of Descartes’ idea, “I think therefore I am”, by coming to believe, “I AM the notions floating in my mind”. As Richard Rohr observes, we’re addicted to our thinking without even realizing it!
Even though thoughts are largely negative and repetitive, these days I’m doing my best to remember everything has an original goodness to it, even if we sometimes have to dig deep to find it. So, I ask myself: What’s the origin of this idea in my brain? When it comes to an attraction toward women who aren’t my wife, for example, I’m discovering it’s an appreciation of beauty, desire for connection, love of life, and wiring for intimacy.
If I identified myself with the fleeting images in my mind, I might believe I was in love with so and so, or a bad person for admiring a woman who’s not my partner. But, by stepping back to observe, engage, and shape our mental clay from a distance like an artist, each of us has the power to create a more Light-filled life.
Renowned meditation teacher Sally Kempton encourages us, as we notice thoughts arise and subside, to remind yourself, “These thoughts are energy, and every thought has potential power to transform my reality.” Today, I invite us to practice savoring the pauses between thoughts, while also approaching our mental chatter like a master sculptor who is going to create a gorgeous work of art from a humble rock. Let’s observe, engage, and shape our thoughts to brighten and enliven!
Grace and peace,