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Will You Listen To Yourself

First, I’d like to thank those of you that have left comments on my last two posts. I really appreciate you taking the time and trouble. Frankly, I find it incredible that there are still some folks out there happy to read this crap. Thank you.

Last time out I made a suggestion. I suggested that you follow your gut, do what feels right, trust The Universe.
I suggested that there’d never been a better time to listen to your common sense, your imaginations and your eccentricities. That your programming was best ignored.

In a nutshell, I said that you should listen to yourself.

I also said it was simple but not easy.

I know this because I struggle to do it myself, every goddamn day.
Those of you who’ve valiantly followed my ramblings over the years will know that I’m no guru. It’s a matter of public record that I’m bad at following my own advice.

But I try, I try every single day.

I’ve spent decades seeking help and guidance. Searching high and low for answers to my questions and solutions to my problems. And trust me, there have been a lot of problems.

So whenever I give advice, make suggestions or pass on some nugget of wisdom, know this.
What I’m actually doing is questioning myself and reminding myself that I already have the answers.
They’re bottled and stored away in the dusty recesses of my mind. I have distilled them from a, vast library of knowledge accumulated over a lifetime of seeking.
Perhaps one day I’ll put it all together in a book. I’ll call it ‘Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie’.
And while I’m confessing my sins, here’s another. I’m still an addict.
For all my seeking I still have questions and I still have problems. But that’s OK, I’ve come to accept that I always will. I’ve come to accept that there’s no nirvana. But I’ll keep looking anyway.

So there you are. You’re reading the ramblings of a lost soul forever seeking. If you find anything of value in your travels with me, please let me know.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. 

How do we listen to ourselves? OK, here’s what I know.

But first a word of caution. Know that there’s more than one of you, and if you listen to the wrong one you’ll be in big trouble. 

It’s a simple mistake to make because in those rare quiet moments when the outside world fades away and your attention drifts inwards you’ll likely ‘hear’ things. What you’ll ‘hear’ will be thoughts. A constant stream of disjointed, random, crazy thoughts.
And you’ll likely think what you’re listening to is you. 
IT ISN’T.
Sorry for shouting but this is important, really, really important.
YOUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOU.
Sorry, I did it again, but now you know why.

I know that this is hard to get your head around. It took me a long time to understand how important this is, and I still forget occasionally. That’s why I’m writing this remember?
I could dive deep into the why’s and wherefores. I could give you a reading list, show you my research, build a cast iron case.
But I can’t do that in a blog post.
So try this little quiz instead.

Is it true that you know when you’re having a thought?
YES or NO

Who was it that answered the question above? Who was it that was aware of having that thought?
??

There can be only one answer to that last question.
It was the real you. 

SO YOU CANNOT BE YOUR THOUGHTS.

YOU AND THEY ARE TWO SEPARATE THINGS.

I rest my case m’lud.

Now, having shown that you are not your thoughts, there’s something else that’s important to understand. It’s that you can’t stop having them.
OK, if you spent years as a hermit meditating in a cave high in the Himalayas you might at some point find yourself with an empty head. But I’m guessing that even then, every so often, a sneaky thought would find its way past the mystical barriers. It’d probably be the one saying ‘WTF am I doing here’.

No, transcendental peace is not for us ordinary folk. We can only accept that thoughts, left to their own devices, will pass through our minds again and again. Like dishes on a sushi bar conveyor.

So, now we have just two simple things to remember.

  1. Thoughts are separate 
  2. Thoughts come and go

Knowing and accepting these facts will make your life so much easier because once acknowledged they allow you to do something else.
They allow you to choose, just like in a sushi bar.

Maybe I’ve picked a poor analogy here. Maybe you’re allergic to seafood. If so, just substitute my sushi conveyor with something that works for you. But remember those choices have to be moving. This isn’t like the pick-n-mix at the sweet shop. How about taxis? Imagine you’re in London or New York and those black or yellow cabs are whizzing past left right and centre. They’ll drive right past until you choose one and hail it.
Anyway, enough with the analogies, you have the idea by now.

The most important thing to know is that when it comes to thoughts, you do have a choice. And if you have a choice, that means you can be selective. You can decide which thoughts to listen to.

Just like all those vacuous B list celebs, thoughts thrive on attention. When you focus on them they puff up with pride. Keep paying attention to any particular thought and it’ll keep growing, spawning new thoughts, taking on fresh forms.

And this happens to all thoughts, good or bad.

So my advice is this. Only give time to the good thoughts. They’re the only ones worth listening to. You’ll know which ones they are, you’ll feel it.

Do this and you’ll get a bonus. The shitty thoughts won’t get a look in. They’ll visit less often and they won’t hang around when they do.

Oh, and one last thing. I’m not talking about ‘Positive Thinking’ here. You cannot control thoughts. You cannot have only positive ones. But you knew that already, eh?

For now, I’ll leave you to go and tune in to the one and only TrueYouFM station – Sounds to brighten your day! 

Happy listening!

Next time out I’ll give you some tools and techniques to help you make sense of what you’re hearing. 

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3 Comments

  1. Colin Colin

    I just love the 5 minute read bit Neil. I’ve been back and forth for 15 trying to get it but maybe it’s these thoughts……
    Love the books and blogs. Keep it up Mate

  2. Bruce Bruce

    Great read, thanks

  3. Rob Rob

    Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum.
    Yet, there is more!? Is there? I’ll be listening. and looking forward to your next.
    Tinnitus does a very good job of distorting many a thought. (of mine!). So, more often than not tend to act aforethought mostly to my detriment but not always. Just avoid the wrong taxi.
    (Cannot comment on sushi! an experience still to be encountered!)
    Hope the blogs help you in between work with the book(s). Confessions of a…….. has been done! After reading “Will you listen to yourself” how about “A Sage Introspection.” To be the fourth(fifth including Naval exploits) in the series? Although I get why you include the word “Foolish” in your current titles there must become a time for an upgrade.

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