Thinking is the source of problems
On a good day, everyone thinks! Thinking is a core characteristic of every human being. We think in order to affirm our uniqueness, in order to create or invent new things and in order to solve problems or to handle challenging moments. Thinking also endows us with the ability to unlock several opportunities. Thinking is about generating and supplying information to the brain. Hence: “The brain is a system in which things happen according to the nature of the system. What happens in the brain is information. And the way it happens is thinking” (De Bono, 2015:12). However, many times our gift of thinking has become a source of our problems. In the sense that, most of our thinking, left to itself, is distorted, unreal, biased, partial and uninformed. Examples of such thinking include: jumping into conclusions, over/hasty generalisations, blaming yourself for collective responsibility, projecting and affirming a poor image of yourself, refusing to accept compliments, disqualifying yourself, magnifying little things, attachment to emotional reasoning, relying on ‘should’ or ‘must’ statements and so on. The key is self – awareness.
You may wonder why the subject of thinking under the school of the spiritual life. Thinking permeates all the spheres of our life; the spiritual life firmly inclusive. The story of the Emmaus disciples and their inability to recognise the risen Christ, bordered on the distorted way they thought about Christ (Luke 24: 13-35). The images we have about God and His ways are largely products of not only life and religious experiences but our thinking. What life should be and/or how it ought to be is the outcome of our thinking. Thinking is so powerful that it can make or mar us. Note, thinking precedes a word, feeling and behaviour. Thinking constitute and define our worldview which gives us our perspectives about life and situations. Thinking also assist in the interpretation of the same worldview.
So, it is clear that our thinking can help us or can destroy us. Therefore, we ought to examine our thinking pattern. There are questions we need to ask ourselves as thinking beings: is my thinking rational, reasonable and empathetic. For instance, “Are you in a rut? Instead of changing what you do, try changing how you think about it,” says Roger Martin. Many people have remain stagnant in their growth process in life because of faulty pattern of thinking. The truth is this, it is the way you think that makes you or destroys you. Guess what, even our chief instrument or principle of verification – faith is also influenced by our thinking. No wonder some believers are ardent for God and some are very cold. Our thinking can move mountains to their right places or they can obstruct such movements.
Now, there is a way out. The key to unlock thinking is the capacity to shift from the head to the heart. The toughest journey to be ever made is that of moving from the head to the heart. We have come to discover long ago that the solutions to our problems or challenges in life do not actually lie in our heads but our heart the seat of God. The process only begin from the head. Wayne Dyer shares his experience as follows: “When I ask an audience to point to themselves, ninety-nine percent will point directly to their hearts, not their heads. Your heart holds the answer to resolving any and all problems in your life.” We need to develop the ability to control our thought pattern. On the other hand, errors in thinking are hard to spot. Thus the need for spiritual and psychological exercises such as: prayer, meditation on the Word of God, meditation, counselling and spiritual direction. Fr. John-Mary Atep.