Watching the clouds float by

Image: Daria Nepriakhina

When we’re on the path of Self-discovery (aka: when we become aware of and attempt to get over our own self-imposed bullshit), one of the first things spouted to us from the self-help world is the concept that ‘thoughts are things’. We hear the banal (albeit well-meaning — and true) notion that our thoughts create our reality.

Empowering, indeed. Until we set the book down, walk over to wash the dishes, and bingo — there it is, damn it — a negative thought. Where the hell did that come from?

No-no-no! Stop it, now! 
Thinkpositive, thinkpositive, thinkpositive (oooh, this hurts).

We also learned in the same book (I’m guessing) that thoughts create thoughts of a like nature, so there we are, face-in-our-dish-rag, trying like hell to extinguish this evil thought. Meanwhile, there they go. Multiplying just like Bob Proctor said they would. Damn that man…

Okay. You’re still reading. So you’ve probably been here in some sense. Me too. Well, I want to reframe this whole thoughts are things thing for you here so you can relax a bit.

Firstly, know that you’re not doing anything wrong. Beating yourself up about your stinkin’ thinkin’ is only going to cause more mental and emotional hemorrhaging.

These things we call thoughts are like clouds floating by. One moment, they’re like Simpsons clouds, floating by nice, fluffy, and perfect. The next, there’s not a cloud in sight (this hardly ever happens, actually, but stick with me here). All of a sudden — bang — here comes a damn thundershower.

Here’s where I’m gonna allow you to let yourself off the hook even more.

You can’t control the clouds.

This is what we were trying to do in the kitchen scene above — play God and manipulate the weather.

Now we sound helpless, right? Great… We can’t control anything. And just like that, we’re right back into victimhood...

Well, not so fast, negative Nancy. Keep reading.

Here’s where our control lies — we have control over consciousness. This means we get to control which of the clouds — if any — we focus on. We get to look at a cloud and make a dragon out of it. Or an airplane. We get to find shelter from the storm and enjoy the rain. Or, we can just go on about our day like most of us do, with not much concern about the clouds at all.

And then there’s next-level spirit-ninja skills. This is where we can lay down our busy monkey-minded thoughts about the clouds and open up to a greater insight that totally blows us away (yes, if we’re really good, we can even do this without acid). We can see how incredible it is that we’re even able to sit here and be cognizant of such a beautiful sky. We can allow ourselves to be taken away by the intelligent design of life and how this ball is able to keep on spinning.

(Now we look pretty ridiculous up there with the dish towel, don’t we… Ugh…)

Because here’s the thing — we’re not the clouds. The clouds float by while we live our lives.

When it rains outside, do you go out to the patio at work and stress about how the rain will never end? I’m guessing not. But we do it with thought all day long.

The fact is, we can enjoy clouds of any type. Yes, even tornadoes (from a storm cellar, of course). There’s no need beating ourselves up if the weather is anything but perfect like those ‘positive thinking’ postulators tell us to.

It’s really nice having this in your conceptual tool kit. Because then, no matter what the weather, you can sling open that folding chair, kick up your heels, and watch the clouds roll by.

I see a bit of a storm on the horizon. Think it’ll miss us?

Jonas Ellison is a coach and writer who helps people find their Mojo and dismantle their self-imposed limitations using spiritual, philosophical, psychological, and practical tools. To get his short vignettes in your inbox daily, click here.

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