The other day in the car, while I was listening to Liang Wen Fook’s CD and he was crooning, 如果你不小心想起我。。。，Aaron suddenly asked, ‘How can someone 不小心想起我?’ (carelessly think of me)
I was amused by his question. ‘Why not? If you miss me terribly, and is trying not to think of me, and I suddenly creep into your mind, that’s how 你不小心想起我 lor!’ I replied.
Eckhart Tolle has a better explanation. He (and I am going to be quoting a lot from him from now onwards) describes thoughts as ‘a voice in your head that never stops speaking.’
(Incidentally, what is the difference between a sane man and an insane one? One articulates his thoughts in his head, the other speaks them out aloud. So when you hear yourself speaking out your thoughts sometimes, you are insane at that time.)
He says, ‘Strictly speaking, you don’t think: Thinking happens to you. “I think” is just as false a statement as “I digest” or “I circulate my blood.” Digestion happens, circulation happens, thinking happens.’ The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind.’
I know that only too well. After yoga, we are supposed to meditate. My teacher would lead us in the beginning, telling us to ‘bring your mind to the centre of the body. If your mind starts to wonder, gently bring it back.’ I could never do that even after three years. I have no control over my mind. Within a second of it being ‘at the centre of my body’, i start thinking of what food to have for lunch. Then, I become aware of my wondering thoughts and bring it back to the centre. Again, it wonders off…plans for Aaron’s homework, the drama I just watched last night…’
Emotion is the body’s reaction to your thoughts. What you are thinking can not only affect your mood but also your health. For example, if you think you are in danger, even if you are lying comfortably in a warm bed, you body reacts instinctively in preparation to flee. When not released – for you are still lying in bed and not fleeing – the energy becomes toxic to your body. So negative thinking, which leads to fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, hatred all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones and so on.
When you think, you are either locked in the past, immersed in your memory; or forecasting the future and are thus ‘unconscious’. Being conscious is to be aware of yourself at the now moment.
So for the past few weeks, I have been practising hard. Sometimes I let myself indulge in fantasy thoughts as I run, for that ‘unconscious running’ makes the running time seem shorter. Other times, I try to be present, conscious of my emotion at that time, like when I am having a disagreement with Mike or Aaron. It’s not easy but it lessens the emotion and makes the situation easier to handle.
A friend once wrote in her Facebook status: In order to have great happiness, you have to have great pain and unhappiness…otherwise how would you know when you’re happy?
I beg to differ. That happiness is short-lived and ‘never happily ever after’. Instead, when you are in control of your thoughts, and thus emotion, you are free to choose whether you want peace at that moment. For when you have peace, happiness follows.