Stepping out of the Patterns

I seem to write about what I need to do more often than what I have accomplished. So, in an effort to balance that out, I want to write about a successful moment in my mindfulness endeavors.

A few days after I wrote my last post, I sat outside at the same spot for lunch. I was lost in thought again. Thinking about something related to work. This time my thoughts were on something that had not happened yet. I was thinking about a future event in an effort to prepare myself for it.

I looked at the trees and immediately realized what I was doing. I fell into the thinking trap again. But the trees brought me out of it. I was reminded of my previous post and how I wanted to be mindful of my surroundings.

Before I completely dropped what I was thinking about, I wanted to learn from the thoughts that had trapped me. First, I shifted my focus from being within this pattern of thought to being outside of it. I was then able to objectively observe what I was thinking about.

I saw that I was trying to solve a problem that I was having with a program at work. I was coming up with a plan of action to solve the issue. When I realized that, I thought that I was actually being productive. I let my thoughts go again, objectively observing what I was thinking.

I saw that I kept coming back to the same subjects and coming up with the same solutions, over and over again.

If I was actually being productive, I would have come up with the solution and moved on to something new. But I just kept going over the same thing over and over again. Was I doing that because I was not satisfied with the solution? No. It was perfectly acceptable. And I was not attempting to find a different solution through all the repetitions.

I was just stuck in a pattern of thought for no good reason. And the trees helped me step out of that pattern.

This is one of the few times that I have seen an immediate and direct benefit to practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you break patterns of thought and gives you more control over what your brain is doing.

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