Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

This is one of those blog posts where I’m still trying to sort out my thoughts/feelings about an issue and hoping that writing will clarify things.

After a little prayer for guidance and clarity, here we go…

This week I realized I’d fallen into some of my “pre-awakening” habits recently.  Those habits being: giving my positive thoughts too much power and attention, looking ahead and having expectations or preconceived ideas on how the day, week, month, (life!) would unfold, and generally putting my trust in me (aka my thoughts) rather than in God.   In short, these are my tools for constructing a world where I can stay “happy” or feel in control of my life.

footprintsFortunately, after going through all of this growth, I can’t keep up this charade for long.

As I dug back into my trusty copy of The Happiness Trap and reread some of my old blog posts, I could easily identify where I was and how I’d gotten back there again.

Thoughts, according to Dr. Harris, are just words passing through your mind.  People typically give their thoughts way too much power.  Harris calls this chapter “The Great Storyteller” because our minds tell us stories all day long, and then we believe these stories and assume our thoughts are truth.   Actually, our thoughts are sometimes true (called “facts”) and sometimes false.  But, most of the thoughts that run through our minds are neither true nor false. Harris explains, “Most of them are either stories of how we see life (called “opinions,” “attitudes,” “judgments,” “ideals,” “beliefs,” “theories,” “morals,” etc.) or about what we want to do with it (called “plans,” “strategies,” “goals,” “wishes,” “values,” etc.).”

Basically I had given my positive judgments, thoughts, plans, etc. too much power in shaping my feelings about life. Believing my thoughts gave me a sense of control over life. I’d fused with many of my thoughts, again believing that my thoughts were truth.

Then when I started to have negative thoughts, I was already in a state of fusion and therefore couldn’t properly recognize that these thoughts were just words and not absolute truth.

I’m realizing how important it is to hold our thoughts lightly regardless of whether they’re “positive” or “negative”.  By believing my “happy” thoughts I was pulled away from direct connection with my life.  I’d pulled back from God and regular prayer.  This is one of the ways sin manifests itself in my life – pride and self-reliance.  It’s a slippery slope.

As I’ve been in a period of transition and defusion the past couple days, I have to remind myself that I’m never going to “have it all figured out.”  Even as I write that I hear how ridiculous it sounds.

Once again I’m reminded that a state of mindfulness and surrender to God is a much safer, more secure place to be than dependence on myself and my thoughts.

Growth, sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back.

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