Thoughts on thinking: Presenting the present

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my thinking. Specifically, I’m trying to have more positive thoughts.

That’s why an ABC News feature on a German spiritual thinker caught my attention. Eckhart Tolle has sold millions of books and was the subject of a 10-part online series by Oprah Winfrey, according to the network.

Tolle teaches people how to “shut off the noise in their heads and be happy,” the article said.

In answer to a question from ABC’s Dan Harris, Tolle said it’s important to use our minds rather than letting our minds use us.

“Psychologists found that 98 or 99 percent of our thinking is repetitive. And also a lot of our thinking is very negative,” he said. “People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things.”

Tolle said the mind becomes obsessed with the negative things, leading to judgments, guilt and anxiety.

Then Tolle said something that really got me thinking.

“Many people live habitually as if the present moment were either an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment, and imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one, that is continuous stress.”

It occurred to me that, while I don’t really think of the present moment as an obstacle, I often tend to either focus on the future or the past.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we ought to learn from our past and plan for our future, but fixating on either can get us off track.

So, I’ve decided to try to focus more on the here and now. I want to be present in the present.

Steve DeVane

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