We think a lot don’t we? And it seems that our thoughts are coming from the thing we’re thinking about, but do they?
There’s a Chinese phrase that says he lies like an eyewitness. The idea being that you can have 10 people witness an event and they’ll come up with 10 different versions of what happened.
And those versions will change over time and particularly as the moods of the witnesses go up and down as they do quite naturally. When our moods rise, we think more clearly and as it drops, our thinking becomes more cloudy and personal. Have you ever felt that the more angry you get the more right you are? And when you’re no longer angry and look back usually see how wrong we were!
And it often looks like our feelings come from the ‘thing’ – the email, the other person, the traffic, the other competitors etc. But in fact we’re just experiencing our thinking about the thing, never the thing itself.
For it to be true that our feelings come from the ‘thing’ then we’d all have exactly the same experience of the same thing. And we know that’s not true. Each and every one of us has a different experience.
Take the London Olympics for example. In the interviews with the athletes after the events they all seemed to have had very different experiences of 80,000 people in the Olympic stadium cheering them on. For some, they said it was encouraging, for others distracting, and for others (usually the winners), they didn’t notice them at all: the crowd was completely neutral, which it always is.
Our feelings never come from the thing we’re thinking about. Our feelings always come from our thinking about the thing. We are always and only living in the feeling of our thinking. It’s a self-created experience.