When I become absorbed in my thoughts do I become distracted from my life?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

I would like to start with this paragraph from the poem by Facundo Cabral “You are not depressed, you are distracted.

“…You do not find happiness nor is it so easy 

you should only listen to your heart before your head intervenes 

that is conditioned by memory 

and complicates everything with old things with orders from the past 

with prejudices that make you sick, that chain, the head that divides, impoverishes, the head that does not accept that life is as it is not as it should be…”

I have chosen these words, because they highlight how we become entangled every day in making judgements about how we should do things and about life, instead of observing the present moment which is the only thing that exists.  The wandering thoughts that inhabit our days lead us to see films full of old or trivial things.  We take old scripts from our memories, unresolved issues, past wounds or nostalgia for better times and expectations or fears about the future.  None of these exist, they only appear because we seek to ascribe significance to them.

Is there anything at this moment that requires your attention, your involvement?

Well then, deal with it, but stop turning it over in your mind.  Wandering thoughts distract us from what exists and lead us to act guided by memories, often mistaken ones, full of interpretations and defensive attitudes and therefore pain.

Therefore thoughts about old issues lead you to repeat your behaviour and to constantly go over the same ground.

Memories are not going to allow you to change and to live your life without fear, because memories are there to remind you what a bad time you have gone through and to not fall back intothe pain that you felt at that moment.  But that is a trap, because life is purely about change and you are the only who tries to see things through out of date lenses.  Do not let yourself be borne along by old thoughts, pay attention to life, to what you feel, to what is right in front of you here and now, and after observing it with new eyes, decide at each stage what fills you with peace and happiness.  Thoughts are not life, but they absorb and confuse you.

Decide at each moment how to construct your life.