Thoughts and Anxiety
It's a bit like holding a TV remote control in your hand. You sit down on the couch, grab the remote control and select the channel you want, and then the program you want to tune into. You press the button and you activate the download through your satellite dish.
You're pulling a data stream from a satellite way up there in the atmosphere, and your dish is receiving the signal - and then converting it into images which jump onto the TV screen. It's remarkable really, but we take it for granted and don't think too deeply about it. One day, I had a mini Aha! moment when I realised that we all have a remote control in relation to our thoughts.
Our thoughts are the same as the packets of information that stream down from the satellite into our dish, and from there into our TVs. That's what thoughts are - packets of information. They aren't actually held inside our heads. They come and they go. It's as if we download our thoughts from way up there, just like we activate our TV channels via satellite. Unfortunately, some of us don't even realise that we have a remote control. We seem to be always switched on to a particular channel, like the 'Drama Channel' or the 'Anxiety Channel', or even the 'Not Enough Channel'. I imagine that the programming might look like this:
15.00 Comparison Crackers!
Meet the people who seem obsessed with comparing themselves to others. They say that others have it easy or have it made. We go on a journey to find these others. Will we find them? Do they exist?
17.00 What happened to me in the past (repeat)
A boring story that has been repeated over and over again. Wallow in it with us for the 23rd time!
18.00 You won't believe what he said!
You really won't! It's incredible. He said all kinds of things. Amazing!
17.30 Something bad is going to happen soon.
Join us as we conjure up what might happen in the future. Yes, we know its fiction, but it might just happen. We prepare for all the worst eventualities.
18.30 He might leave me and then …..
NOT ENOUGH CHANNEL
20.00 There's never enough time
Join Deborah and Jeremy as they talk to people who are always so busy that they never have time for themselves. They have turned from human beings into human doings!
21.00 There's not enough money
We investigate why it is that we never seem to have enough money. We found lots of people who like to talk a lot about not having enough.
22.00 There's not enough love
A provocative look at the lives of people who are bitter about the lack of love in the world. We wonder if they are only getting what they give out?
Ok, that was me being creative! But it's good to have a laugh at ourselves sometimes, and not take it all too seriously. We are constantly streaming and downloading different programmes with our minds. What channel are you hooked into?
It may be a strange thing to say, but lots of us are watching the same channels. It's as if our precious thoughts are not even our own, and most of them are negative and recurring, over and over again. It's like you don't even realise that you're beaming them in. You haven't noticed the remote control in your hand - and even if you do, you never think of changing channel. You haven't realised that the TV is always on, and that you have the power to switch it off!
So now you have three components in the thought process. You have the packets of information up there somewhere, you have the satellite dish and you have the remote control. The packets of information (thoughts) are always floating around, and they tend to gather together just like TV channels. Thoughts tend to band together in what we call group consciousness. When we belong to a particular group we tend to tune in to the normalised thoughts of that group.
So, for instance, you may be tuned into the normalised thoughts of women who were brought up as strict Catholics, and so you don't realise that you're tuned into a particular channel. Why is that? Because your thinking has become so habitual that you believe you are your thoughts. People say things like "I am a Catholic" or "I am an agnostic". Both statements are untrue. If we were to unpack the first of those thoughts we would find that what's really going on is this - "I was born into a Catholic family, and the authority figures in my life told me I was Catholic. My mind began to think Catholic thoughts and after a while that became my normal way of thinking. At some point I stopped realising that I was the one doing the thinking, and I began to believe that my thinking was actually me!"
This is what is called identification. We identify with our thoughts - in other words, we think we ARE OUR THOUGHTS. Someone says something to you, and you think "That wasn't so nice. I'm under attack" - and you react. But nothing is actually happening - not really - except that they have triggered a response from you, based on what you are thinking. Nobody is under attack - but your mind thinks it is. Why? Because you are identified with your mind, and you believe your thoughts, most of which aren’t even yours!
When you look at thoughts in this way, It become clear that you're thinking is not "real" in the ultimate sense - and that you can simply change channel anytime you want. When you get used to having that remote control in your hand you will begin to choose your channels carefully. You may even begin to change your favourites, so that you are only beaming in what actually works for you. Finally, you may have an AHA! moment and realise that you can turn the TV off altogether. When you do, you’ve arrived at an even deeper level of being - and this is the place we call "No-mind.
All you can do now is to relax into this nothingness …. Fall into the silence between the words ….. watch the gap between the incoming and outgoing breath … and treasure each empty moment of the experience. Something sacred is about to be born’
Osho - The Transcendental Game of Zen.