“I need to _______”.
“I want to _________”.
“I have to _________”.
Do you notice yourself getting caught up in thoughts like these? Need to, want to, have to. There are millions of permutations for how each one can be completed and they can be about absolutely anything. When I meditate, stories like these appear in my Puppy Mind. It’s when I start to believe the drama that it gets overwhelming! I’m sure that I’m not alone in this.
“You are not your thoughts” is a phrase used in yoga and meditation. I find comfort in these words because all thoughts are not true. There’s also the saying by Buddha, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.”. Both ideas have their time and place. But when I read them one right after the other, they seem so contradictory!!!
I put a lot of the pressure on myself. I put a lot of expectations there too. Who am I to decide? Why do I believe something has to happen a certain way? Why do I even buy in to any of it? I’ve come to understand that it’s the norms and values of society that have shaped me. I think about the influence of media (blogs, Facebook, email, internet, TV, radio, news). I think about the influence of my family and friends. I think about the influence of my own past experiences.
And so, when I get my day off, I enjoy being by myself. To quiet the noise from all those external sources. To listen to my own inner voice. To compare them against each other and, from there, choose the right action to take. To sift through all the needs, wants or haves and determine which of them are truly necessary.