All fear, suffering, and emotional discomfort is a function of thinking. If we were able to let go of thinking, and remain attentive to the present moment now, we would reveal peace and calm.
We all have up to 100,000 thoughts passing through our existence every day. Within the matrix of a thought is content, and energy or emotional charge associated with that content, and movement.
Our mind has a propensity to identify with the content of some of those thoughts. Once identification with content has occurred, the mind starts thinking, or in other words the mind begins to engage in a story associated with the content of that thought, and the emotion associated with that thought appears to get hard-wired to our nervous system.
The content of thinking either pulls us in to the past, or into the future. Generally when we’re caught up in past thinking we experience sadness, regret, or frustration about the things that have happened in the past. Even though everything that has happened to us in our life has been necessary to deliver us to this moment here, it has no value in this moment. The past has gone. Thinking about the past is a distraction to life right now.
If the content of the thinking relates to the future, we can experience worry or stress or dread about what we think will happen. The reality is that we have no idea what is going to happen in the future; second-guessing the future is futile.
A useful approach to letting go of thinking, or letting go of the suffering associated with thinking, is to gently focus on an object located in your proximity, and to remain gently attentive to that object. Such gentle attention has the ability to allow us to let go of thinking, and in that gentle attentiveness we can experience the stillness and peace that underlies thinking.
If you find you’re experiencing discomfort; if you are worrying about something in the future, or you are upset about an event that has happened in the past, have a go at gently focusing on something that’s around you. It may be a pen on your desk, or a bunch of flowers or a painting on the wall, or it could be a tree outside or even the moon at night.
By gently focusing on that object – in other words by being attentive in a relaxed way – you will notice that peace and calm are revealed. As you allow your awareness, or focus, to gently be attentive to an object, the thinking will cease and the discomfort will fall away.
This focusing exercise is a great tool to use throughout the day. Any time you’re caught thinking about something that is inducing discomfort, let it go by gently focusing on an object.