In a recent interview with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and best-selling author Ron Suskind, he shared the background of his most recent book Life, Animated, a beautiful and touching story of a family dealing with autism. A gifted writer with an important and personal story, for sure.
During the interview, Ron introduced the notion of autism, a complex brain disorder as a "prison or pathway." As so much of my life and practice deals with mastering mental processes, I thought it appropriate to borrow this phrase as an appropriate reflection for each of us.
Consider that our thoughts, invited and uninvited, are our constant companions. We can't control their volume or timing, but we control their influence on us - on our emotions, on our perceptions and on our actions. According to don Miguel Ruiz, our minds, hearts and senses perceive things as they truly are, but our thoughts filter, distort and interpret them to suit our needs. In this interpretive dance, occurring in a nanosecond behind an invisible curtain in our consciousness, the result can be a "prison or pathway".
My thoughts are a prison when rooted in my worries, unresolved issues, fears or expectations. They imprison me as they lock me into a limited view of myself and are most acute when I'm not present, living out the day on autopilot. My thoughts are a pathway when rooted in my passions, my possibilities, my best self. These are most accessible when I'm clear, present and intentional. Alive, to me, is synonymous with "enlivened" - the sensation I have when my thoughts are working for me.
When your daily thoughts imprison you, what can you do to elevate and enliven?