Every morning, a farmer and a dog wait by the roadside for vehicles to come. As soon as a car drives by, the dog would chase the car down to catch the car. One day the farmer’s neighbor asked the farmer, “Do you really think your dog is ever going to catch those vehicles?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What worries me is what would happen to the dog if it ever catches one.”
At a very young age, we are taught that we have two schools of thought; Positive and negative thoughts. From there on we are encouraged and even educated on removing negative thoughts and on cultivating and empowering positive thoughts.
It all sounds good and moral. However, the mind doesn't have an ability remove or suppress thoughts from its property. But it has is an ability to accelerate.
When a thought comes to the mind, it is immediately in motion. The more we think about the it, the harder the mind steps on its accelerator. In other words, the thought becomes amplified.
You have heard this before, "bring attention to what you want to manifest." If the attention is on removing an unwanted thought, the mind disregards the ‘remove' and proceeds with rapidly expanding the unwanted thought.
Here is a way to prove this to yourself. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, clear your mind and be still. You will be successful for the first few seconds. Soon you will find that you have drifted on a thought. When you attempt to suppress or remove it, you will find it difficult. To your surprise, the mind will locate similar memories and bring them forward. With more thoughts, the more anxious you become. Soon your stillness will come to an abrupt end. No matter how hard you try to suppress or remove those thoughts from your mind, you can’t. What happens in your mind stays there. Remember this also, what you want to remove (from your mind) may become you!
Fortunately, the universe has an answer to every question! It suggests that we distance our thoughts from ourselves. This is an Aha moment. Fundamentally you and your thoughts are two separate entities. With a gap, you become an observer. An observer of your thoughts. The gap separates you from interacting with the thought!
How do you put distance between yourself and your thoughts? By focusing on yourself.
How do you put the focus on yourself? By focusing on a movement in your body.
To me, it is breathing. I pay attention to the movement of the breath, inhaling and exhaling. Some focus on the rise and fall of the chest. Some focus on pacing back and forth. These exercises trains the mind to observe you. It is a practice that brings awareness! While meditating, distracting thoughts will arise. When you realize a thought has arrived, your mind probably will have wandered far away. That’s ok. You simply acknowledge a thought has occurred and that you have wandered from your focus. No matter how criminal, depressing, sentimental, or ecstatic the thought maybe, simply acknowledge it. You may label it if you wish. Do not engage the thought. Gently bring your attention back to your current focus.
Soon the mind will learn to separate itself from your thoughts.
Believe me thoughts are necessary. Thoughts are the reason for our success and well-being. However, thoughts are also the reason for our downfall. When a thought pops up in our mind, the impulse is to engage with the thought. If you are constantly engaging in every thought that crosses you mind, it will turn in to a habit or an addiction.
When we think of addictions, they are substance abuse; alcohol, cigarettes, prescription medicine, illegal drugs, gambling or even food. Addiction to thought is overlooked and goes unnoticed every time. Thoughts are constantly bombarding our minds, and the habitual engagements with them will make the thoughts the reality we live in. It becomes our world. We begin to engage with them indiscriminately. No longer we can’t separate the good thoughts from the bad.
One bad day we are going to get hooked on a negative thought.
We begin to have a binding conversation with it. Then it turns to an unrestrained conversation. By now we are attached to the thought and so-called common senses shut down. We begin to follow the thought. We are caught in a ball and chain scenario. Here’s something else. Humans have great memories and vivid imaginations. Then to make matters worse, the mind brings-in past events and old memories to the thought-conversation. Most of them may be faintly related to what is going on in our mind. It doesn’t matter. We are completely entangled in our thought-world. The cherry on the top is when the imagination kicks in. It will create unbelievable scenarios related to the thought-conversation. Scenarios that will never ever transpire. Unfortunately, that thought-conversation has now turn into a full-blown brawl. We have completely lost our touch with reality. We are disconnected from reality. We become delusional. Then become irrational. The Irrationality leads to erratic behaviors. And the erratic behaviors lead to destructive actions. Actions that harm ourselves and others.
The thoughts are there to serve you. Don’t let them enslave you.
Going back to my story in the beginning. What if the dog catches the car? The average car weighs about 4000 LBS/2 tons and moves at least 30-40 mph on a small road. An average dog weighs between 20 to 30 lbs. So, when, that one day, the dog happens to catch moving vehicle, the car will destroy the dog beyond any recognition. Think of the driving by vehicles as your thoughts. You are the dog that chases every car that passes by.
Let me repeat, the thoughts are there to serve you. Don’t let them enslave you. The purpose of the thoughts is to make you a rational person.
Let me also remind you, in a larger context, that the mind is there to serve you, don’t make it enslave you.
Being aware of the Gap is not just reserved for following a spiritual path or enhancing personal relationships, but also has a huge impact in the business world.
Being in the Gap allows us to think through problems and opportunities and be objective. We can easily take on negative feedback and not threatened by them. By not being impulsively emotional or not being spontaneously reactive to our thoughts, we give ourselves the space to reason and be resilient. This state of mind increases our emotional intelligence. Managing emotions means a decrease in stress and an increase in productivity. The gap creates an uninterrupted and unperturbed mind. The gap mindset allows us to go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
One more thing. How important is the Gap if you are starting a business? Massive! The Gap becomes knowing the difference between passion and profitability. I know, you are squinting your eyes and saying, “Wha'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis”?
Every profitable business owes its success to a personal passion. No question about it. From a street sweeper becoming an owner of a residential & commercial cleaning service business to a computer geek who now owns a major tech company has passion in common. Passion is crucial in making any business successful. “Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life”.
But remember, passion is a strong emotion and desire. Just like anger. It can mar your thinking and reality. Being excited about your business is no guarantee of success. Attaching to a deep personal passion can blind you to the hard realities that businesses face at any stage. That means going belly up. The Gap helps you to keep a clear line between Passion and Profitability. The ultimate goal of all businesses is…yes, you guessed it right, profit!
The Gap makes a world of difference!