“John was on his way to school. He was worried about the maths lesson. He was not sure he could control the class today – strange really because it is not part of his duty as a caretaker.”
Imagine you are at the bus stop waiting for the number 12 to take you to X and the number 6 comes along taking you to Y, and you jump on anyway. After a while you realise you are on the wrong bus jump off and stand at the bus stop again. Then along comes the number 15, you jump on again and this time you realise you are on the way to Z – miles out of your way. Once again you jump off and wait at the bus stop.
Can you imagine this happening all day long, all week long, all life long – well that is exactly what happens with most of us.
This is similar to our relationship to thoughts – along comes along any thought story and off we go. We don’t care where it takes us but we jump on regardless. Often these thought buses take us for a joyride and it may be a bit of fun but often they may take us to places we definitely don’t want to go, they can take us to some very dark, scary and anxious places.
If, however, we are able to remain peacefully at the bus stop of the present moment we will not end up in these anxious places. Through practising mindfulness over time we are able to do just this. When a thought bus comes we can notice, let it pass by and remain in the present moment.
We will, however, still find ourselves getting on the thought buses time and again but what mindfulness enables us to do is to notice we are on a thought bus journey and step off without drama and rest once again at the bus stop.
The art of this particular aspect of mindfulness is how we notice and hop off the thought bus. The point is not to criticise ourselves, not to judge ourselves as useless – that is another thought bus – but simply to notice where the bus was heading and return back to the body and the breath. If we do get hooked into criticising ourselves that we do the same thing, notice and hop off and it is no big deal at all.
Thought Bus – pay attention and get on the one you want.