Today I played tennis with my girlfriend.
Afterwards, while I contemplated what to write about for my Sunday post, she suggested I write about our game.
She said, "Why not talk about how the tennis ball is like the thoughts in our heads, going back and forth? You know, so often we get caught up watching the ball, losing sight over the bigger picture of just having fun."
She's big on connecting life experiences with creative outlets, so this is no different.
The point of playing tennis was to have fun, be outside in the sun, and bond over a healthy activity. There were times, however, where I caught myself getting frustrated at the ball (or my racket, or my inability to hit the ball.)
It was clear that each time my attention was consumed by the ball, I lost sight of the fun we were having.
The same goes for our thoughts. When we get sucked into our thought patterns and go where they take us, we're no longer present with what's in front of us, but rather lost in the chaotic tennis match of the mind.
We completely lose sight of the bigger picture, and instead get sucked into the vortex of our chaotic minds.
For example, I'm currently having trouble finding the words for this article. But I'm having trouble because I'm watching my mind go back and forth, saying things like, "It's Sunday, I'm tired, I just want to relax. But I still have to clean, do laundry, and cook lunch for the week, I can't relax yet."
As I watch my mind, I find myself getting pulled in.
The more I get pulled into the thoughts, the more I get pulled away from the task at hand: simply write a blog post.
On the contrary, when I can objectively watch the thoughts without letting them hook my attention, I'm able to better focus on the task, allowing creativity to flow more freely.
I hope you can use this as a tangible example of how our thoughts distract us and create our misery, simply because we're so invested in them. And yet how, if we're aware of this pattern, we actually have a choice not to engage in the thoughts.
Think about your day to day life, perhaps even right now. Are you thinking about everything you have to do tomorrow? Are thoughts about work stressing you out? If they are, chances are you're like me, and you're getting lost in them.
Take a step back, watch the tennis match from above, and realize you're not here to suffer. You're here to enjoy this game of life.
Live with substance!