“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” Eckhart Tolle
Have you ever stopped and laughed at a thought in your head? Or, the opposite, became angry or sad because of a persistent thought? I did. Many times. So that made me wonder: wouldn’t it be awesome to have an on/off button for our thoughts? And a “select” one as a matter of fact? While on a recent trip to the mountains, listening to radio in the car, it suddenly struck me:
and also turn it off and on whenever we want.
Let me explain. We’ve been driving for about 4 hours. It was getting dark and we were going through thick forests. We were getting deeper into the mountains, heading for a chalet located alongside the best road in the world, the Transfagarasan. (That’s according to the team from Top Gear. After walking and driving on it, I agree: it’s breath taking!)
I just had to tell you about this road, in case you ever come to Romania 🙂
Back to our mind-like-the-radio-story and how you can use it to become more mindful.
Our Mind Is Like A Radio Receiver: It Plays Whatever We Choose To Listen To
If you ever drove in some remote areas in the mountains you know how the radio signals get weaker and weaker.
In some areas the frequencies of different radios overlap each other, sometimes there is just white noise, sometimes a faded, interrupted signal from one station, sometimes from 2 stations in the same time. And the more you drive, the more one of the stations wins and becomes more accurate. Or it’s just white noise for miles and miles until the radio picks up a new signal.
I was listening to this war of the frequencies. And this thought came to my mind: the battle in between different types of thoughts in my mind is very similar to the one I was witnessing to going on on the radio.
Sometimes I liked the tune the radio was playing, sometimes I didn’t like it. Sometimes I just turned it off completely when commercials or news were entering the scene.
Our mind is very similar to the radio. It is a receiver that focuses on one frequency according to your instructions and the area you find yourself in.
You can choose a rock radio, a folk, jazz, an oldies one or God knows what other type of radio you like. You can choose to listen to something or completely turn it off.
Actually, this part with the turning off is the one I miss most when it comes to my mind. I wish I had a on-off option, just like the radio in the car has. Deep breathing and meditation are the closest things to this, but it’s a longer discussion here.
Anyway. This car that we were in was fixed on an oldies radio. All the way to up to the mountains area, where the scrambling of the frequencies began, we listened to that radio only. And I was turning it off every half our when the news were on and sometimes when a tune I didn’t like was playing.
When we become aware of what’s happening in our minds we can choose the type of thoughts just like I chose to listen to a specific radio, and only to the tunes I liked. It really is that simple, once we start practicing.
The more we practice, the more the type of thoughts that we like best – let’s say the positive, encouraging ones – gain more strength in our minds. We become fixed, pre-set on a certain pattern, just like this radio was set on the oldies station.
Scrambled Frequencies Are Like Conflicting Thoughts. The Stronger One Will Eventually Win
Sometimes, when we go through some extraordinary, disturbing life situations, we might lose our favourite radio. And then we get 2, 3 or more types of thoughts overlapping in the same time.
That’s when we feel confused for a while.
But if we keep going and have a clear focus – like “I want to hear my favourite radio again” – “I want to go back to my peace and serenity thoughts”- we will get there.
The secret is to keep going forward until we regain our normal, positive thought pattern. And realise that we are not our mind, and that we can choose at any moment what kind of thoughts are “playing” in our minds. That realisation is the beginning of peace and mindfulness.
And, who knows, in the middle of the stormy moments, maybe we discover a new, better one that we want to add to our favourites list.
So that’s it, that was my insightful moment that I had while driving on the best road in the world.
How about you? Do you have a tip on how to choose your thoughts rather than going on autopilot? Share it in the comments bellow, I’d love to hear about it.
With all my love,
P.S. Have fun watching the Top Gear boys having the time of their lives driving on the Transfagarasan.
Photo of Transfagarasn: Radu Cristi