QUESTION: “I have spent a great deal of time just being frustrated because so many articles and videos about the principles refer to “dropping the thought” as if it is an effortless fait accompli. I have found instead that the more distressing the thought, the less likely it is that it will drop and instead plays over and over in my head no matter how aware I am that it is just a thought and not reality.
I found the following comment on your recent blog entry particularly comforting on this issue:
“Yet quite often, realizing we’re stuck in our own thinking doesn’t give us any way out and we’re stuck with feeling tired or upset or closed-minded about someone. Speaking for myself personally, that’s more the rule than the exception.”
As a newcomer to this area of study, I’m starting to come to the conclusion that there is real value here, however it often seems oversold”.
ANSWER: I just wanted to say that your observation about the tendency for these principles to get oversold is a very astute observation. In the discovery of these principles, people are so commonly awestruck by the realization that a person could drop a thought, just like that, and feel completely differently about life, instantly, while the outside circumstances stay exactly the same. As each person has their own first-hand discovery of that phenomenon, the implications have been so exciting and have represented such a quantum leap for the field of psychology, mental health, and what we all thought was possible for humanity. And as a result, there can be a tendency for people to fixate and set their sights on those situations in which they’re able to completely drop a train of thought, and although it may happen and become a normal occurence in their everyday lives, for every thought we drop, there’s at least one, if not many, that we can’t. Effortlessly dropping a thought is not typically the most common by-product of learning this understanding. The most common by-product is that we see the illusory nature of the fear, anxiety, insecurity, etc so that even though we can’t seem to shake those feelings, the feelings now look 2-dimensional rather than 3-dimensional so they’re not so scary and we don’t think into them so much. So while they don’t go away instantly, they have a much shorter shelf-life, and since the experience looks more fictional than factual, it matters less and less that we go through those feelings. The content becomes less alarming and less of a big deal.That’s the common denominator.
It’s easy to come to the conclusion that we can drop or control our thinking, but with a better grasp comes the realization that thought is not something you can master, it’s not a system that can be beat. It was here long before we were born and our mental energy has a life of it’s own. So it can be understood, and that helps us navigate thought in a way that works out better for us, but that’s pretty much it. Trying to control it is just as ridiculous a notion as trying to control weather and makes for a lot of frustration, disappointment, and tension.