I was recently reminded of what I refer to as ‘the red car story’. In his book ‘Thunk’, Sandy Newbigging perfectly describes how our minds can be overrun with unnecessary thoughts by using the analogy of a red car survey. It makes me laugh but it is an effective way of reminding us to let go of thoughts that are holding us back and preventing us from enjoying the present moment.
He asks you to imagine that you and friend are sitting by the roadside counting the number of red cars that pass by. You feel relaxed and happy as you watch several blue, black and yellow cars drive by and then a red car passes you both. Your friend jumps up, runs after it and grabs onto it’s bumper and is consequently then dragged along the road. Even though it is causing him pain, your friend continues to hang on to the bumper. Your friend shouts out that the red car is hurting him. You reply that the red car isn’t hurting him; he is being hurt because he chooses to hold on to it – he should let go instead. The same is true for our thoughts. When we hold on to thoughts it gives them the power to hurt us and to hold us back.
Next time you have an obsessive thought churning around and around in your mind remember to let go of it’s bumper and don’t be dragged along by it!