The title for this post is a phrase I’ve seen somewhere as of late, just can’t remember at the moment. To the person who came up with it: Thanks!
One of the steps on the spiritual journey is to view ourselves from, as it were, outside of ourselves. This is not as confusing as it may sound. Here’s an example: While quieting down to pray or in taking a moment of quiet, I notice that I am thinking about a past event. Perhaps it involved a disagreement or uncomfortable exchange with another person. I may mentally re-hash what was said, even begin, in my mind, to re-enter the fray, this time seeing myself as the victor, the one with the last word, or he who has the final pithy remark. When I notice this about myself, and can see what his happening, I may wish to give thanks for the information that, for me, this still has some power. It may help me to recognize what is beneath these mental gymnastics – anger, fear, resentment, shame, etc. These thoughts are not me, but they are telling me something important. If I choose to, I can let them be leaders and I can follow where they lead. Chances are this won’t produce growth or be very life-giving. If I follow them then in a sense I am making these thoughts into a belief.
It’s good to listen to our thoughts, and to learn from them. Like our emotions, our thoughts are good teachers with important lessons to share with us. However, they are not very good leaders. If we let our thoughts or our emotions become the basis of our beliefs, we’re going to find ourselves “stuck” in many areas of our lives. I know this well from personal experience. The more I can do to see the bigger picture, to keep thoughts and emotions in right relationship, the more able I am to listen to another, be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and to recall that it’s not all about me.