I love the feeling of hot coffee going down my throat, it wakes me up instantly, like an old trustful friend. The booth I am sitting in feels cool, and soft, and I am looking at my friend sitting across from me, and he says,
“Sometimes it does not matter how tough I am, how many coping mechanisms I have, how well I feel I make decisions, life will still find a way to hurt me.”
I look at him quizzically, thinking how it is a little early in the morning to be pondering such notions about life. Tom has always been a little too smart for his own good. His intelligence has always gone hand and hand with depression. There has always been a lot of truth in the saying, “ignorance is bliss.” Tom, like myself, just knows too much about things, about how life works, about how nature itself works. He then says,
“How do you do your job? Being a life coach and counselor and all that crap? I mean, I feel you are going against the nature of nature. It does not matter how well you teach someone to handle life, eventually people get old, get diseases, and they are going to die. Most of us are not going to go without pain. If I was doing your job, I would just tell people to stop fighting, and just accept the inevitable.”
I took another sip of my hot brew, and then said,
“You know Tom, you just hit the nail on the head about what counseling and life coaching is all about. People do need to stop fighting so much, and just let go, so they can enjoy the moment without so much thought. Because it is thought that drives your depression. You do not know that life is about inevitable annihilation, because it is only your belief.”
Tom chuckled a little bit, then retorted,
“Yeah dude, it’s only my belief that people grow old and die? It’s only my belief that there is poverty, war and greed?”
After he said his little comment, I just stared inside my coffee cup, watching the light reflect off its smooth surface, it tranced me a little. This wasn’t the first time I have heard such negativity, I myself suffered and still suffer such thoughts. But when I hear it from someone else, lord, it made my bones chill.
“Tom, you are right, you are right because they are your beliefs. And your thoughts create your reality, your universe. I used to think that thoughts were not that powerful, but I am starting to understand they are everything. When I realized the power of my negative thoughts, and the crippling effects they had on my life, I knew I needed a change.”
“Crippling effects?” Tom said, seemingly skeptical.
“Yes, thoughts, especially negative thoughts will stop the flow of energy. And it is not just the hippy spiritual side of me speaking. Tom, I used to feel that I could outthink my depression, used to feel that if my mind brought me here, then it could get me out of it. And I am not going to say that isn’t true, but you have to understand, the real solution to opening the flow of energy through my body, was simple, I needed to stop thinking.”
Tom had a very serious look on his face, he had half a pancake on his fork, and it looked like it was drenched in syrup, just dangling. I found the image a bit disturbing, wondering if he was going to shove all that in his mouth. I then continued,
“Tom, it is no mystery that my best ideas, came from something outside of me. They came when my mind was silent. I was thinking about regrets of the past, or fears of the future, it was just silent, in the moment. Those kind of times for me, happened rarely, my mind was in constant chatter. Believe it or not though, the mind does have an off switch. If you can find that switch, and stop thinking, you will feel the flow of energy, which connects us all.”
Tom put down his pancakes, and said,
“You talking about meditation?”
“I am talking about meditation, but not just meditation. I am talking about any way you can turn your mind off. It is the easiest thing in the world to start doing, but probably one of the hardest things to master. To turn off your mind, just focus on your breathing. Feel the air go in, and out, that’s all. Hell man, it doesn’t even have to be on your breathing, you can focus on that pan fried batter you have oozing off your fork. Just stare at it, without thought, without judgement, just accept what it is. Focus on turning off your mind for only five seconds at a time, then build to ten, then to a minute, and just like anything, over time it will become easier.”
“What about thinking good thoughts?”
“Good thoughts are wonderful, especially visualization of success. But that’s not what I am talking about, it is important to learn how to stop thoughts, or better yet, not to let thoughts have a grip on you. Because we both know, stopping all thought is impossible, but when they do arise, through this practice, they will flow in, and then flow out, instead of sticking around like an unwanted in-law.”
Tom was a little lost for words, he looked interested, and a little annoyed at the same time. I took another sip of my coffee and just said,
“Tom, the best kind of thought, is no thought.”
His pancake then fell off his fork.
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