Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Mind Has a Mind of Its Own

Very rarely are we able to think the thoughts we actually want to think. As Jack Kornfield has said, "The mind secretes thoughts the way the mouth secretes saliva." I like to say that the mind has a mind of its own.

Even though we don't have much choice about what we think, we do have a choice about where we place our attention. Turning from an unreal thought to a present-moment sensory reality causes the thought to end very quickly. The mind cannot think two things at once, and when given the choice between a present-moment experience or a thought, the mind will always choose the former over the latter. To test this theory, the next time you are eating ice cream, try to imagine what a dill pickle tastes like.

So if troubling or ruminating thoughts secrete themselves, make the choice to turn your full care and attention toward a present-moment sensory experience. In this way you can liberate yourself from the bondage of these thoughts and become empowered. After all, the mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.


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