Don’t take your thoughts too seriously


The momentum of the world around me is overwhelming at times, particularly in cities. We tell stories about our cities to ourselves and the stories we tell are the stories we create. Do we tell ourselves that cities are big and ugly and inhumane, or that they accelerate the development of our well-being, in health practices, the arts, and economic opportunities?

Eckhart Tolle (in Stillness Speaks):

The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely.

Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don’t take your thoughts too seriously.

As a citizen, there is great value in recognizing when I am simply getting caught up in things, particular the drama in my mind. As Tolle puts it, “it is easy for people to become trapped in their conceptual prisons.”

We have thoughts, and we ought to notice those thoughts and tell the stories of what we are noticing because we notice ways to improve our cities and this serves the evolutionary impulse. But we do not need to get caught up in the momentum of what we see. See it, be aware of it, and yet hold it light enough that we do not take the new story so seriously that we hold onto it as tightly as we held the first story.

To be comfortable with uncertainty, we need to be able to hold our stories lightly enough to toss them when they no longer serve us as well as they could.

Are you holding a story that limits your experience of the city?

What new story is emerging in the city you see? 

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This post is part of Chapter 9 – Be the Best Citizen You Can Be. Here are some plot helpers of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:

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