Pardon my shorthand.
Sometimes I think too hard. (It's okay. I know my brain is working.) And I get frustrated when I think so many things at once. I don't know what to do to turn the thought into action or move it through my system to get to the next thought. I get stuck thinking about why I am thinking about things. And so I think some more.
A few weeks ago, my yoga teacher talked about one of the five yamas - or restraints - called bramacharya, which means celibacy. It always feels a bit stoic talking about celibacy. She put a smart spin on it, though. She said it's not just about that. For the most devotes yogis, yes, perhaps. But for us walking in this world, contending with the demands of daily life, it's also about efficiency and choice and knowing what you want to take on, how much of it, and what you don't want to take on. It's knowing where to place your energy and to what purpose.
She then went on to talk about how she received a phone call in the middle of her morning practice. It was her niece. Why is my niece calling me this early in the morning? she thought. It must be something urgent. As we sat patiently waiting for her kernel of wisdom to pop, she spoke about how in a matter of minutes she went through all of these thoughts. She imagined what kind of emergency it could be, she thought of who they'd need to call, she planned the way she was going to take to get to her niece, she thought about her husband and how he could come and meet them, and so on and so forth.
And instead of shooing away the ten things and trying to remain in her devoted practice of emptying the mind and body of thoughts and desires, she let them come. She let them swell up and grow to the proper proportions in her mind. What happened when she was done thinking the things? Her practice was clear and fluid. She found she had little attachment to things. She listened to the message from her niece. It was nothing.
I realized I can think about things all at once and let the thoughts swirl and dance inside of me, and maybe that's better than shooing them away and getting frustrated. I can make the choice to take them on. I can flip the restraint the other way and relax into what I'm resisting. That is the practice. As Leonie Dawson says, Ride your wild donkey. The ten things thinking have energy in them. And I can let the energy flow and move and capture the ideas, or release them.
Maybe my thoughts result in nothing. That's okay. They're in process. A creative process. For we are creating something when we think about things all at once. And creating is good.
"You are what you think about all day."