is the speech of our mind. Right Thinking makes our speech clear and
Because thinking often leads to action, Right Thinking is needed to
us down the path of Right Action.”
Thich Nhat Hanh in
The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace,
Right Thinking is one aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path,
is the way to well-being. Other aspects are Right View, Right
Right Speech, Right Action, Right Diligence, Right Concentration, and
Livelihood. The following is offered to stimulate your consideration of
Thinking as it may apply in your life.
The older man noticed that
could not see so well one morning. He thought, “I’m getting old. My
is fading. Someday I’ll probably be blind. I hate the thought of being
and blind. What will I do? How will I be able to stand that?” Then as
his habit, he removed his glasses and washed the lenses. Putting them
he could see as clearly as the day before.
Right Thinking depends upon
View. Thinking is influenced by perception. If our perception is off,
thinking will be off. If our thinking is distorted, our behavior will
unhelpful. If thinking and behavior are dysfunctional our feedback from
world will be painful and our feelings will be miserable.
The thinking mind has been
to a wild horse. It is unruly and difficult to control. If you knew
about horses and were given a rope and told to go tame a wild horse,
would likely create suffering for yourself and for the horse.
horses have had to be “broken,” because the tamers didn’t bother to
the horse so as to understand it. Now we have people called “Horse
who get to know horses well. They observe how horses think and respond.
find gentle ways to gain the horse’s trust and to control its behavior.
If we want more control
our wild mind, we must observe it first and come to understand it. We
to learn its habits, its fears, and its tendencies to misperceive.
practice of awareness and self-observation our mind can become better
It can serve and empower us, rather than throw us to the ground and
To that end, practice
on the breath. Just focus your attention on your breath and let go of
Thoughts will arise, but you don’t have to do anything with them. Just
them and resume your focus on your breath. One way to do this is to
your breaths as they occur. The first time you exhale count “One.” The
time you exhale count “Two.” Count to four and then return to one. If
lose track of the number, start again with “One.”
Frequently during the day,
and notice what you are doing. You may notice that your thinking is not
with your doing. You might be doing a task and thinking of something
different. Over and over, bring your thoughts back to the task at hand.
to unify mind and behavior. If you are cooking, just cook. If you are
just eat. If you are cleaning up afterwards, just clean up. Make the
to drop out of the worrying, planning, evaluating, criticizing,
regretting and blaming game. Remember to experience your senses. Get
into the present moment.