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Getting Off The Train of Thought

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

First published in Dec. 2017 in

Last year I participated in a mindfulness course by Monash University, and the one idea that really stuck with me was, that our thoughts are like trains at the train station. They come and they go and when I’m standing on the platform and can see a train coming I DO NOT HAVE TO GET ON IT. It will leave the station soon enough.

Getting Off The Train of Thought
Getting Off The Train of Thought

It was mentioned in regards to meditation, trying to explain how to deal with the plethora of thoughts in our heads while trying to “quiet the mind”. But I really love this idea as a reminder in my daily life, that I have more power then I think to control my mind, and I can always navigate my thoughts when I’m more aware of them.

I have come to understand that my thoughts are linked to each other, and when I board the train of thought there will be more of the same kind of thoughts on it. So for example, if I’m thinking about someone who behaved poorly, then more thoughts of that person and of other things that were done badly will come up, and if I want to stop feeling upset about it then I can get off that train and change the subject. That train will come by again, that’s for sure. Maybe then I’ll be more open to thinking positively about that issue, or maybe, just maybe, I will be feeling so good about myself and my life and the world in general, that I could spend an entire afternoon on that train without being so emotionally affected by it.

At the moment, we are looking for a new place to live because our house is going to get demolished and replaced by smaller units, like so many of the houses in our neighbourhood. The worry train comes past my station regularly on this subject, with so many good reasons to worry. What if this and what if that. I am very happy and proud of myself for never getting on it! I know it is not productive for me to go there and it won’t make me feel any better. It will most probably make me feel worse, anxious and stressed. I also know that it will leave the station soon, a different train will come by :-)

The train that I’m getting on regularly is the one full of new possibilities. Excitement for change, for the opportunity to sort stuff out, to organise our lives better. Excitement about reevaluating where we wanna be and what we want to be doing in the next couple of years.

It feels pretty good.

I love looking at it in this way, it helps me feel way more in control over my experience and I can tell you without a speck of doubt, that I am feeling better for it and am attracting better options for myself. Simply by being aware of what I put my attention on and what I am staying clear from.

Can you recognise the train of thought coming into your station?

It always makes me chuckle when I realise what’s happening in my mind and I go AHA! I see you! I am not getting on this time ;-)


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