“I should have more money”
“I should be further along in my career”
“I should have gotten that job”
“I should be healthy”
“I should have my retirement in place”
“I should be in school”
“I should finish school”
“I should be married”
“I should get a divorce”
“I should lose weight”
“I should have said something in the meeting”
“I should have just shut up”
These are just a few ways that our mind is constantly “should-ing” on ourselves.
Because we have over 60,000 thoughts a day, it’s impossible to examine each thought to see which ones are “should-ing”
So how do you get relief from the “should-ing” syndrome?
How do you catch yourself “should-ing”?
Whenever you have a stressful thought, stop. Examine the thought and ask yourself, “Is that true?” “Is that absolutely true?”
The thoughts that give us the most pain, the most suffering, are often the ones that tell us “You should…” or “You shouldn’t….”
Where do they come from?
Usually from our past experiences; what society tells us to do or don’t do; advertisers; our parents; friends; relatives; or the media.
You don’t have to be a victim any longer
When the stressful thought comes up, instead of pushing it down, running from it, or fighting it, just ask yourself, “Is this the truth?”
For example, when someone ignores you at work or school, and doesn’t speak to you. The mind will spin a story. “They don’t like me.” “Maybe it’s something I said last week.” “Did they hear something about me?”
Notice how the mind creates a scenario that is more colorful and elaborate than a blockbuster movie. Instead of trying to suppress the thoughts, ask yourself, “Is that the truth?” “Do I know that for sure?”
The mind is doing what the mind does. It questions everything. But, you don’t have to be dragged behind the mind like a rider falling off a horse.
You are the master of your mind. You can decide which thoughts you are going to entertain.
You can decide to let the stressful thoughts go by doing a direct inquiry.
“What is going on here?” “What am I believing?” “Is it true?”
Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
What he was saying is that we follow beliefs and thoughts that lead us down the wrong path. We don’t stop to think, “Is this the best thing for me to do.” “Am I following the crowd?” “Am I following what society says I should do, instead of what is good for me?”
Gangaji, a wonderful teacher said this, “Society is a cult.”
When you stop to think of it, that’s true. We drink the kool-aid that society gives us, and follow along without examining beliefs that we swallow.
Examine those stressful thoughts. Ask yourself:
Is it really necessary to have a body of a 16 year-old when I’m over 30?
Will I have loads of friends if I drink a certain beer?
Will I be loved if I wear the right clothes?
Will my world crumble if Senator Romney becomes president?
Will my world crumble if President Obama remains in office?
These types of ideas that society gives us constantly become thoughts in our head. And, if we don’t examine them, they become beliefs.
Beliefs, the wrong beliefs, become fears. Before you know it, you’re living in fear all because of what you heard in the media, a friend told you, or a family member’s fears they project onto you.
We can get so tangled up in other people’s beliefs that we don’t even realize that our stressful thoughts were not coming from us. They came from other people. But, when they are not examined, they become our beliefs, and then, it doesn’t matter where they came from because we have embodied them.
It’s an endless circle. But that circle can be broken, by inquiring about a thought. Stop. Ask yourself “Is that the absolute truth?”