IT IS NOT ALWAYS WISE TO LISTEN TO ONE'S THOUGHTS
This story is a favorite of mine; I have forgotten from where I heard it.
The rain was coming down furiously and the man received a flood alert on his phone. Calmly he went about his business, thinking "God will save me."
The rains continued and the river at the foot of his property, approaching the second floor of his house. As the man looked out his second story window, he saw some people in a rowboat calling urgently, "get in, we don't have much time." The man shook his head and repeated, "God will save me."
Now, having climbed up to the roof, a helicopter above him dangled down a ladder, but still the man shook his head and thought, "God will save me."
The man drowned.
When he met God, he asked God, "why didn't you save me?"
God responded, "what do you mean? I sent you a flood alert, a rowboat, and a helicopter!! What are you doing here?"
Now, what happened to the man was that he was paying total attention to the world his thoughts were presenting and not to what was actually happening around him.
I have another real life story about this. I was recently rear ended and when the other driver explained himself, he said, "I did not think you were going to come to a complete stop."
He believed his thought created reality rather than what was actually happening in front of him.
The Buddhists say that this is the source of all suffering, and I am inclined to agree. We develop expectations and perceptions of certain people or events and pay attention to that rather than to the actual person or event. Thus racism, sexism, phobias and all other misunderstandings arise, making us feel angry, fearful, and other sorts of unhelpful emotions.
What is more helpful is to take a real look at exactly what is happening, exactly who this person is and respond in a helpful manner to that. If the situation is awful, then we focus on a solution rather than how awful it is. None of us would want a first responder who is weeping, wailing and/or panicking over the circumstances we lie there broken and bleeding!
So let's see ourselves as a first responder to all our present moments. We calmly assess what is happening, who this person is in his/her heart, and respond from a place of love and compassion. Our lives would be much simpler.