Sunday, September 7, 2003

Afraid of our Thoughts

We have all been taught to take charge, to make the most of every moment, work hard, and of course play hard. But have any of us been taught how to stop?

4000 years ago Jews brought the concept of a “day of rest” into the world. A novel idea. In todays world can anyone imagine not having the weekend off? While we may have those couple days at the end of the week we generally do not spend it resting. There is tons to do. Most of the time is spent doing laundry, paying bills, going shopping, going bowling, visiting friends, doing homework (just a thought), partying, sleeping, watching a movie and cleaning your bedroom. Anything forgotten?

As a result of running, we have spent all our time focusing on what’s ahead. We focus on everything else except for what the point of what having time off is. We need to stop and reevaluate ourselves and our lives. How can we accomplish this when we are constantly distracting ourselves with the above activities?

We do not know how to be alone with our thoughts. In the car, as soon as the key is in the ignition - the radio is blasting. We walk into our homes - the television is on for background noise while we putter around doing other things. We aren’t even sitting and watching what is on. We just want the noise. We cannot stand to be alone with our thoughts. Why?

Our thoughts bring to the front of our minds everything we do not want to think about. Our insecurities, our fears, and unresolved disagreements come to the fore. Instead of dealing with any of these issues we block them out with any kind of distraction we can find.

We are rats on a wheel - running without thinking. We grow up, going from elementary and middle school to high school, to the university, to marriage, to kids, to...fill in the blank. We don’t stop running.

What is the solution to all of this? Take a time out. Turn off the walkman and take a stroll around the neighborhood for an hour a week. Be alone with yourself and your thoughts. Get in your car and do not turn on the radio. Do not turn on the television when you get home. Let your thoughts flow.

Who are you? Where do you want to be in five years? Two years? Next week? What kind of person are you now and do you want to stay the way you are? Do you give charity? Do you spend enough time with your children? Sit on a bench and watch the people go by. Watch how kids react to the lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). They are mesmerized by the different animals.

Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. See what good you can do for another person. What good you can contribute to your community. Find something that needs to be fixed and fix it. Learn something new.

Stop and think for a moment. Are we afraid of our thoughts? We must do what is done with any other fear. Deal with it. Resolve to be a better person, moment by moment, day by day.

It is time to stop and get off the treadmill of life.