It’s important to differentiate a thought from an emotion. We say things such as, “I feel like they don’t accept me.” Actually, that is a thought. We may feel hurt or frustrated, and it’s because we’re thinking that others don’t accept us. How do we know they don’t accept us? We don’t. We haven’t asked them. Instead, on the basis of how they looked at us or a comment they made, our mind constructs a story that we believe.
As soon as you hear yourself saying, “I feel like . . . ,” stop and recognize that you can’t “feel like” something. You are thinking. After you have identified the thought, ask yourself, “Is that true? How do I know it’s true? What evidence do I have to prove the validity of that thought?” It’s really startling to see how often we assume our interpretation of a situation is true when in fact it is based on flimsy evidence.
From Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Living with Wisdom and Compassion by Thubten Chodron, pages 11–12.
Of Interest to Readers
We recently had a chance to ask some questions of Ven. Thubten Chodron, American Buddhist nun and author of many books, including her most recent, Don’t Believe Everything You Think. Go here to read about her thoughts on women in Western monasticism, in-flight religious conversations, and the Dalai Lama.