Have you ever been totally sure of something only to find you were totally wrong about it? Wasn’t it bewildering? Maybe it was a personal or business decision, or the choosing of a job, school, house, investment, friend, partner or spouse. You thought about it carefully from every angle – then it crashed and you wondered what went wrong. “What was I thinking?” – you say to yourself. But that’s the wrong question. The right question is, “How was I thinking?”
Wrong thinking is not about what you think but how. Not thinking the right way had been your “normal,” habitual way of thinking, so you seldom achieved the outcome you “thought” you would, and didn’t know why. This caused you to fear making even the smallest decision or taking the simplest action. When your best thinking turns out mistaken too often, you lose confidence in yourself – which, more accurately, is a lost confidence in your thinking. So what you call your “self” is really your thinking self, but you have more than one self. And this is where the correction begins.
You have two selves: (1) a self that thinks and (2) a self that’s aware or conscious of the thinking. The way to think and act correctly, intelligently and realistically, is to utilize both selves at the same time. In wrong thinking, there’s no awareness of what you’re thinking while you’re thinking it. Your “aware self” is absent from the equation, making you unable to see or witness your thinking as you’re thinking. Thinking is happening but there’s no intelligence or guidance behind it. It’s mindless. Just mechanical words strung together from the lower faculties not from higher insight. It’s words without music – from the head not the heart. From the physical, mental, emotional and sensual self – not from your higher, aware self. When your higher, aware self – also known as your “higher power,” is included in the choice-making process – you know what you’re doing rather than think you know. That’s the difference and secret to right thinking and total self-confidence. It’s amazing!
The presence of your aware self is necessary to clarify and correct thought as you think. It serves as an objective, impersonal, neutral reference point from which to discern what is true, right, positive and wise. The thinking self, of itself, has absolutely no intelligence or wisdom whatsoever. It’s like being in outer space without a compass. You don’t know up from up from down, east from west. The correction is to be a conscious and constant witness to the thinking process. Watch that mental faculty from a safe and respectable distance to avoid, for example, the influence of wishful thinking. Keep your aware self – the reference self, above and distinct from the thinker self so it can function as a foolproof, impartial referee of your thoughts and actions. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you confident.
Author Bio: Bill is a Zen teacher and the creator of TheZenfulLife.com. His formal training was in electronics engineering – a field he abandoned after a certain “spiritual awakening” experience led him to an intense 30-year study of human potential development. He is author of Getting Centered, The Zen of Sobriety, and Break Your Love Affair with Food. Bill is a single, former Bostonian, living in Naples, Florida, where he blogs on personal development from a spiritual perspective. http://www.thezenfullife.com/