So I’m vacuuming the living room carpet and I notice my mind has started generating fierce thoughts about my neighbour downstairs (who did something unfriendly in a minor way some time back) and I find that I am hurtling serious insults to her in my head, spitting out things like “get a LIFE, you mad woman”.
Whew, glad I notice it before it takes too much hold of me emotionally, and I bring myself back to the present, to simply watching the dog hairs being hoovered up on the carpet, to the sensation of holding the nozzle moment by moment by moment. And breathing into that experience. Safe again, in the refuge of the present. It’s always, always there, I just need to remember.
I no longer beat myself up about those types of thoughts, though I used to a lot. I would feel guilty when I noticed those negative thoughts. Judge myself as ‘bad’ for having them. And that just took me further down the rabbit hole of being lost in mental content with the aggravated emotions and physical stress responses that often accompany them.
These days when I notice ugly thoughts I regard them mostly with some curiosity, and sometimes bemusement even. I just notice and come back to my breath and to what is happening right now in the present moment.
The stream of thoughts can be pleasant or unpleasant, they are like bubbles arising and disappearing, and there is no judgement necessary, just a noticing. They become equal in the vastness of awareness. Resting in awareness, while experiencing thoughts, emotions and sensations. We are the awareness, not the thoughts I am reminded by doing this.
It is a gentle gradual process of relaxing with whatever arises with no judgement, and even if we do judge ourselves we can relax in awareness with that too. No resistance necessary.