I was listening to Sam Harris on a podcast this morning, and he said something that shook me: “You don’t think your thoughts. You are your thoughts.”
Which is empowering in that you-choose-the-way-you-view-the-world kind of way. Think positively and you’ll view the world positively; think negatively and negativity will seem to find you. I’m pretty sure I buy that.
But then I realized that this sentiment — you are your thoughts — is not a particularly pleasant one when I consider the kind of messed-up thoughts I have during the day.
I don’t dwell on them, of course. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally think the horribly morbid thought. “What if I just drove the car off the road right now? Right into that ditch? Or into oncoming traffic?” Every time somebody on a bicycle comes anywhere near me, I think of that scene from Indiana Jones where he jams a flagpole into a Nazi’s motorbike spokes and sends the guy pinwheeling through the air. Not that I actually want to hurt somebody, just that I could take a tiny action like that and seriously mess up somebody’s day.
Troubling. To say nothing of the dream I had this morning where my wife was holding a handful of baby snakes which subsequently started to eat each other from the inside out (don’t ask, it was a dream, who cares about logic), filling the room with a cloud of black flies. (Interpret that one for me, if you can.)
If you are your thoughts, then what do those thoughts make me?
Pardon me while I try to avoid thinking at all for the rest of the day.
What are we waiting for?
Seriously, every one of us has something in their lives that they are putting off. (Apparently the previous sentence is now grammatically correct; thank you, singular-third-person-they.) Whether it’s fear or doubt or uncertainty or perceived lack of ability, we have numerous and convincing excuses for not doing this thing. Those excuses, with the rare exception, are bullshit.
(The above is an absolutely terrible music video for a pretty on-point song.)
Your new year’s resolutions are in all likelihood floating face down in the kiddie pool by now. Forget about that. What’s the thing you really want to do, but haven’t yet? The thing you’re waiting for the right time to do? The thing that, if you had a little more time in your day, you could fit it in? The thing that terrifies you and entices you at the same time?
Sam Harris is responsible for a relevant quote:
Don’t you know that there’s going to come a day when you’ll be sick, or someone close to you will die, and you will look back on the kinds of things that captured your attention, and you’ll think ‘What was I doing?’. You know this, and yet if you’re like most people, you’ll spend most of your time in life tacitly presuming you’ll live forever. Like, watching a bad movie for the fourth time, or bickering with your spouse. These things only make sense in light of eternity.
The fact — and we know it, of course, even if we pretend we don’t — is that we don’t get that much time. Yet we sit around, not doing the things that we won’t admit really matter to us.
So what are you waiting for?
This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.