Meditation Column: Thoughts can be negative or positive — it’s your choice
Bring your awareness to when thoughts of the past create suffering for you and you may find you go there less.
By Patrick Kelly
Presence. It would be prudent for us first to define being present as being at particular location or in a situation at a given time. Usually now, in the moment. Presence, as a plural noun, may be defined as said present, but include the yet not unknown or unseen. A sensation where one may experience conscious awareness of something, which is not defined by the “normal rules” of existence. In meditation practices, we refer to presence as the ultimate state of being, which underlies all the goings on around us and the working of our minds. A place of sheer joy, love and peace. Total awareness to where there are no questions, no answers pure and total consciousness. Some point to it by calling it Nirvana.
Often we find ourselves in thoughts of the past and the future. That’s OK, providing we are present of mind, aware of the fact that our mind is taking us on a journey in the thoughts of the past, which only exist as thought of the past. The past is over. It may contain valuable lessons to guide us in our actions in the present (the now, the moment) or an understanding of why some things are the way they are due to past events; however, thoughts of the past may lead to negative thoughts and feelings. “Why did this happen? I should have done that. I miss. I lost. I regret.” So on and so on. It is OK if you go there, most of us do not have a choice. Bring your awareness to when thoughts of the past create suffering for you and you may find you go there less.
Future thoughts, more thinking, often not purposeful. Thoughts of the future often just come to mind. The thoughts lead to fantasy and mental movies, often driven by desire or expectation. Fantasies about some future events, which will contain so much more when the moment unfolds than you can ever imagine. Moments that may also be wrought with disappointment when they don’t live up to your expectations. It’s OK. Don’t fight these happenings in your life. Observe them with an awareness of any judgments or negative thoughts you add to the observations. It’s OK to plan for the future, just be aware when self-seeking slips in and adds to the plans.
Thoughts of the past and future frequently lead to some level of suffering.
A meditation: practice it here and there, now and then, when it comes to mind, or not. Focus your attention on your breathing or a sound or object of your choice. When a thought of the past or future comes to your mind, observe it, then return to the focus of your meditation. Include an observation of how the thought made you feel. Observe your physical and emotional response. It’s a new day. Your day. ••
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