Circular thinking is only a good thing if it’s taking us somewhere good. Most non-deliberate circular thinking is problematic.
Indeed, the one fresh example of circular thinking that is good is meditative thought—for instance when we have a positive affirmation or Bible verse or proverb revolving around the turntables of our minds, filtering its way through to our hearts. Ruminations like this have a way of improving our lives slowly over time.
But, the truth is most of us don’t think like that as a matter of course.
We’d much prefer to stew on things... problems, issues, concerns. Even though we know it’s crazy we do tend to hold onto these thoughts.
We could just as easily resolve to do something.
And each time we catch ourselves going back to that form of ‘stinking thinking’ we can pick ourselves up and take ourselves back to that very decision—and commitment—we made ourselves.
The Import of Self-Discipline
Diligence has it that we are masters and mistresses of our own mental, emotional and spiritual destinies. No one makes us think the thoughts we do.
And, still, we’re very apt at thinking we’re out of control of it all.
The ancient—and sometimes lost—art of self-discipline gets us beyond our problems of thought via the simple investment in conscious reflection and accountability. We keep ourselves honest.
We ask, as frequently as we need to: “Is this thinking getting me anywhere?” Even a shred of uncertainty in our answer leads us to the opportunity to make a decision of concluding magnitude.
Being Patient with Ourselves
We always still need a backstop. We need to be aware that some problems and issues in our lives will drive us to despair before they’ll be solved. The wisdom is knowing which is and which isn’t, and being ruthless only on the issues that can be resolved and easily at that. The non-resolvable issues need to be accepted somehow.
Patience with ourselves shows us and others that we are important to ourselves.
Sounds funny, doesn’t it? Of course, we’re important to ourselves... so, why then would we badger ourselves for not getting it right?
Do something about it, but if you can’t, just accept it – for that of itself is doing something about it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.