3 Ways to Put the Brakes on Fake

Nov 17, 2011

A few nights ago I was having a very exciting, stimulating conversation. I was witty and brilliant. The person I was having the conversation agreed with everything I said. It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had.

And it was completely fake. It was about 2 am, I was lying awake in bed, having this imagined conversation with someone I haven’t spoken to in about 5 years and don’t foresee speaking to her anytime soon.

We’ve all done something like this. It is different than mentally rehearsing for a difficult conversation. It is completely unreal and we aren’t ever going to have this particular conversation. Especially the ones like mine, that in my mind was occurring years ago!

The problem as I see it is this, our thoughts are energy and they consume energy. Have you ever been exhausted after have to exert a lot of mental energy? So why would we choose to use our energy engaging in conversations that aren’t real and won’t ever occur? I guess it’s part of the human condition. However, these fake conversations can also be a blessing, they can teach how to be aware of our thoughts and give us the opportunity to learn to choose our thoughts purposefully.

Before you can put the brakes on fake, you need to be aware that something like this is going on in your mind. It does require some practice to be able to watch your own thoughts. Meditation is a simple and easy practice anyone can do to help you begin to be aware of your thought patterns.

Once you notice the “fakeness” going on in your mind, you can use one or more of these three simple tools to bring your mind back to the present moment.

1. Choose a new thought. The simplest way to do this is to begin to label in your mind where you are, what you are doing, how you feel. For example, once I realized I was keeping myself awake I changed my thoughts to something like this, “I am in bed. I’m lying on my back. My body feels a little fussy. There is a cat near my feet.” The shift in thoughts to the present moment helped me relax and find my way back to sleep.

2. Change your environment. Go to another room in the house, go out for a walk, head to the beach and watch the waves roll in and out. Similar to #1, label in your mind what you see, hear or feel in the new environment. For example, if you go for a walk you might notice the beautiful fall leaves, a cool breeze or the warmth of the sun, feel the rhythm your pace creates, and hear birds chattering in the trees.

3. Get busy. Simply engaging an activity can also bring your mind back to the present moment. Do the dishes, read a book, knit or quilt, prepare a meal. Like the above suggestions, bring your mind fully to the task at hand and enjoy being involved with it.

As you practice putting the brakes on fake, you’ll discover a calmer and more peaceful internal landscape. Enjoy it!

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