Freedom From Our Thoughts

Freedom From Our Thoughts

Listening to Dan Harris’ talk at Colby College (and podcast on MEPBN) made me laugh.  He spoke of his own journey coming to meditation, including a moment I had forgotten, yet was life-changing.  Still is.  The moment I realized that the voice in my head isn’t ME – it’s just a voice!

I am not my thoughts!

Not Truth.  Not a mandate to action.  It’s just a voice – or several voices, sometimes sounding just like someone you know, or an aspect of yourself.

We have been misled by Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am.”  Meditation helps us discover both that we have a mind, and that we are more than our mind.  I love Thich Nhat Hanh’s paraphrasing of Descartes: “I think (too much), therefore I am (not there to live my life).”  (Try the link at the bottom for a 10 minute guided meditation)

“I think (too much), therefore I am (not there to live my life).”

When we mistake the voice in our head for all of who we are, we lose freedom of choice in the moment.  We become unconscious slaves of this voice while we mistakenly think we are free.  Often these thoughts have emotional content as well, and we can get totally hijacked!  Instead, we can decide whether this voice is worth listening to and acting on in any given moment.

Consider this example:  someone cuts in front of you taking the parking place you were waiting for.  The voice says “that’s not fair!”  Anger arises.  Your blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, you lose whatever pleasantness you felt listening to your favorite tunes, you are pissed or grumpy for the next however long. Then the voice justifies ruining your afternoon with  “that person made me angry” as if you had NO CHOICE but to go through the whole above physical and mental scenario, a slave to that one thought.  But if you see “that’s not fair!” as simply a thought as it arises then YOU get to choose what to do with it: you might for example realize that the other driver simply didn't see you, or you might simply raise your eyebrows and find another spot while still singing your favorite tune.

You get to respond instead of react.

Both are choices you have in response to the same stimulus of being cut off.  You get to respond instead of react.  What you choose will have vastly different effects on your physiology, mood, and the rest of your afternoon.  This is the freedom meditation offers.

Just 10 minutes a day and you can gain freedom from your thoughts and more ease in your everyday life (and improve your health as it begins to rewire your brain!).  Try the 10 minute guided meditation by clicking HERE.  Learn this skill so necessary to human freedom and happiness.  Try a 30 day commitment – tell me what you discover!

Seasonal Recipe

As the weather warms up, i sometimes make a meal of salad. In addition to greens and garden goodies, I add fruit such as blueberries or strawberries. nuts (my holiday spiced nuts are great!), homemade sprouts, and more.  A favorite addition is marinated tempeh - adding a smokey sweet taste, substance, and protein.   Yummy!1 lb tempeh (I love the Lobelia brand: organic and made right here in Maine)Tamari  (soy sauce is too thin for this)Maple Syrup (local is best!)Cumin powderSlice tempeh (relatively thin so it gets crispy but not so thin it crumbles).In a shallow flat dish, pour in roughly equal amounts of tamari and maple syrup - 2-3 TBSP of each.  Add 2 tsp of cumin powder.  Stir.  Add a dash of water to thin.  Lay in the strips of tempeh to soak, turning or shuffling partway through so all get to soak up the marinade.  Soak 20 min up to overnight, depending on your schedule!  In a skillet, add 1 TBSP of olive oil or ghee, heat. Add strips, sautee' until browned, flip, pour on any remaining marinade.  When marinade absorbed and strips are starting to crisp, remove from heat.  Allow to cool and chop or crumble onto your salad!