Obsessing about what you didn't say at a job interview. Wishing your partner acted differently. Believing that you aren't smart enough.
This is the way the mind works.
Or is it?
I've been thinking a lot about these stories we tell ourselves. My book club just finished the fascinating book My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. If you haven't heard about it, she is a brain scientist who tells the story of her stroke. After the stroke, she has experiences of bliss because the part of her brain that governs judging, language, and ego is damaged. She just feels totally at peace and connected to all beings.
What she learns is profound. After her recovery, she writes:
Now that my left mind's language centers and storyteller are back to functioning normally, I find my mind not only spins a wild tale but has a tendency to hook into negative patterns of thought.
I have found that the first step to getting out of these reverberating loops of negative thought or emotion is to recognize when I am hooked into those loops . . . Learning to listen to your brain from the position of non-judgmental witness may take some practice and patience, but once you master this awareness, you become free to step beyond the worrisome drama and trauma of your storyteller.
As yogis, we know how to become a witness to our mind. We know how to move beyond obsessive thoughts, story telling, and negative thought patterns.
We know--but sometimes we forget.
We want to know:
When do you call on your practice to choose happiness?
Nora Isaacs is a Bay Area-based health writer and editor.