04 November 2011

Uninvited Guests

What would you do if you had uninvited guests in your house?  I'm not talking about friends who drop by unexpectedly, or about someone you know who's having hard times and who needed a hand.  I'm talking about guests who are there in your house whom you don't want in your house--guests that you wouldn't invite into your home for any reason whatsoever.  But there they are.  Wouldn't you get rid of them?  After all, it is your home, and you want to keep it in the shape that you want it to be in.  You want to have control over the people who make their way into your home, and who stay there.  So if someone is rude and insulting, if they damage your furniture or decorations, if they make your life miserable there in your own home, wouldn't you get rid of them, get them out of your home?  It's only logical that we do so.

Why is it, then, that we allow something like unwelcome thoughts to take up residence in our heads?  How can it be that we allow negative thoughts about ourselves, thoughts that are damaging and unpleasant, to live on in our heads, never doing anything to get them out of our minds?  If we were to see our minds and thoughts as homes, how long would we put up with abusive guests?  Or even more importantly, why would we allow the negative influences to hang around longer than the positive ones?

I'm thinking about this because I just had a talk with a friend who told me that she always thinks that the worst is going to happen.  She says that she can't help it, that the thoughts just come into her mind and stay there.  As we talked, we both started to think about just how one would go about getting rid of such thoughts, and what we can do to evict them from the premises of our minds.  The most important things we can do, of course, is to recognize those thoughts for what they are--just thoughts, and not reality.  Then we have to redirect our thoughts, finding something else to focus on so that our minds can be occupied with more positive things.  It takes effort, just like everything else in life--real mental effort that may be difficult to direct in the appropriate directions.

Our minds are ours, yet we far too often give them over to invaders, to uninvited guests who tend to make us miserable.  Until we recognize those guests, though, and do something about their presence, we put ourselves at their mercy.  Yet when we free ourselves from their influence, we find that our lives become brighter and more enjoyable, all because of a decision we've made to keep our minds clear of unwanted thoughts and worries.

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