Your thoughts are completely random, that's why you can't tell me what thoughts you're going to be having in 10 minutes from now or at 7:35 pm tomorrow. We have thousands of thoughts per day and trying to control them all would be a full-time job. I know I don't have time for that and I'm assuming you don't either.
We know then that we have a constant stream of thoughts. In fact 'stream' is a great word to use to imagine the flow of your thoughts.
So imagine a literal stream of flowing water, and in this flow are your thoughts, floating in the stream. Let's take this one step further and imagine your thoughts are like fish swimming with the current in the stream. Some of these fish are beautiful and when you've caught one and you take a bite they make you feel great. Other fish in the stream are ugly looking and leave a very nasty taste or could leave you feeling awful for days if you eat too much of them.
Imagine yourself as a fisherman/woman sitting on the bank of the stream. You cast your line into the water and sometimes you catch one of these beautiful fish and you eat it and you get that great feeling, just like when you have a great or happy thought. It lights you up inside.
Now imagine instead you catch one of the ugly fish, one that you know has a nasty taste. But for some reason, you decide to take a bite and straight away it starts to make you feel bad. Inexplicably you take another bite and another until you feel terrible. You keep eating until you've consumed as much of this nasty ugly fish as you can stomach. You feel absolutely awful by this point.
You are the fisherman/woman and catching a beautiful fish is akin to having a beautiful or happy thought that you catch in your stream of thoughts. Catching the ugly, nasty tasting fish is like having a thought that makes you feel bad (sad, worried, anxious, angry, overwhelmed). Eating it is like hanging on to those thoughts and getting lost in them until you make yourself feel awful.
Sometimes as the fisherman/woman, we forget we have the free will to throw those ugly fish (thoughts) back in the stream and not hang on to them. Whenever you realise you've caught an ugly fish, unhook it and throw it back into the stream, you don't have to hold on to it and you certainly don't have to devour it.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article.
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