Do you act impulsively when it comes to food? Drugs? Sex? Power? Money?
By understanding our thoughts and cravings are merely electrical impulses which rise and fade, we can teach ourselves to detach from the information that tends to repeat itself in pre-arranged patterns. While our egos would like to believe our thoughts (“Oh, I’m very smart, so this must be a smart thought.”) and our emotions would like to act upon them (“I could really go for that chocolate nut crumble tort.”), rationally this is nonsense. Not to mention an impractical way to live.
Better to treat your brain as you would any other piece of technology, one that doesn’t always perform its computations accurately. You can acknowledge your “hard drive” stores memories which you consciously or unconsciously pull up on your personal touch-screen. If those memories are negative ones, you relive the feelings of the situation, and can get stuck in the cycle of repetition. If they’re positive ones, you might want to repeat them and go chasing after whatever it was that turned you on in the first place.
With the practice of distancing ourselves from constant brain activity, eventually our reactions to “good” and “bad” thoughts will dissipate, and we’ll no longer be held captive by them and the feelings they trigger. As we become the observer and not the participant, all thoughts lose their power to control us. Some call this “freedom.”* Others, enlightenment. Still others, a svelte waistline.
*But not insurance agents, politicians, and marketing executives. They would prefer you act upon every impulse which they send out over the transom. Thinking scientifically, you can zap them at every turn!