“It sure has been a very boring winter”, I said to my husband. And then I went quiet and started to think about what I’ve just said.
I remembered that the Buddhist monk Vajracaksu, had been teaching me not to confuse a fact with a thought, to make sure that I don’t jump to conclusions too fast.
So, had the winter been boring? The fact was that it had been much colder and much less sunnier that the two last winters. But “boring” was of course my conclusion. Does it matter? Well, since I can’t do much about the weather that thought makes me a victim. I just have to endure this boring weather and get depressed about it and feel as if my energy level has reached bottom line. If I, on the other hand, can make myself see that “boring” is a thought that I choose myself, I can easily change the thought.
Perhaps “It sure has been a good winter for reading and having cozy coffee mornings with friends” would make me feel less depressed?
Not to confuse a fact with a thought, I find especially difficult with short text messages. I know that’s why the smileys have been invented, but still it happens quite often that I find someone rude or harsh when they send me a message. I easily attach an imagined attitude to the message. But now I have difficulties sending a text message without a smiley, because it looks to serious!
Back to the confusion again: Honestly, isn’t it a very important lesson – to notice if I am confusing a fact with a thought?
I saw an old class mate putting strange photos on Facebook. So when I met some other class mates someone said something about it, and we all were shaking our heads and judging her as a bit crazy. Then one of them said that he had heard that her husband had left her, and another one then said that her sister had died. Hey, wait! With these new facts, I was suddenly not so sure that the photos were crazy. Here was perhaps a terribly sad and confused person, who might be a bit lost at the moment. Within a few minutes I started to feel very sorry for her and seeing her photos as a statement of her sadness. I had clearly confused the facts (the photos) with a thought (“She is crazy”).
How bad isn’t that for world peace?!
Today I’ll try hard to focus on my thoughts about people and situations and notice how often the facts might not be completely supporting my thoughts. Do you feel that you mix them up as well?