Freedom of Thought

What does it mean to exercise freedom of thought?  Am I really free to think as I choose?

In each moment, situation, or circumstance face, I choose what to think.  It may be based upon past experiences, old beliefs, or it may center on the truth of the moment.

People usually enter mediation with thoughts about the other person and what each thing the person says and does means. All too often, the thoughts stem from fear and hurt, rather than accuracy and truth.

One of my favorite thought leaders, Byron Katie, offers a way to examine thoughts with four questions and a turnaround. 

The four questions are: 

  1. Is it true? 
  1. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? 
  1. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? 
  1. Who would you be without the thought? 

The turnaround thought is basically the opposite of the original thought. If I think “My partner should just do the dishes,” I ask the four questions and then state a turnaround. The turnaround usually means stating the opposite, such as “My partner should not do the dishes.”  Then, look for instances it might be true that he should not do the dishes. Certainly, occasions exist where that might be true.  

The point of Katie’s model, and all thought work, focuses on the personal power to create our own thoughts (and thereby feelings). In any given moment, I choose my thoughts and you choose your thoughts.

Are you choosing your thoughts consciously?  What else might be true? Consider examining your thoughts and choosing again.

What meaning to give to the world around you?  To watch my most recent video on this topic click here. 

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.