Strays and Shifts

Stray Thinking
Stray thinking wanders around amidst all our lives. These
itinerant thoughts are never ours – they just knock on our perceptive doors and
if we don’t answer they move on. As we peek out we might notice them going up a
neighbour’s garden path, or watch as they cross the road to ring the bell at
Number 23.
Yet – if we do answer their call we then take them in; we
take possession of the stray. And in that possession it is no longer A Stray –
it is now Our Stray.

Emotionally attached
Of course once the Stray is Our Stray, then we begin to
lavish care and attention, and perhaps – eventually – devotion and love! We
find a dedicated space in our hearts to grow Our Stray and to perhaps nurture
it into becoming a belief – or, should I say in the particular scheme of
things, one of Our Beliefs.
Of course I’m only talking in metaphor here; I’m drawing
parallels between thoughts and uncared for and homeless creatures am I not? Yet
there is a similarity in the way we draw both into our lives, into our
Yet, here’s the thing –
The stray animals we might take in an act of human, nay more animal, kindness
fall into certain categories. We tend more towards taking in strays that fall
into the taxonomy of domestic pets.
The more wild we perceive the animal, the less likely we are to take them into
OUR lives. If we encounter an injured creature from the wild or a bird with a
broken wing, say, then we are probably going to take them in to a professional,
or an agency, for them to help the creature back to wellness. The best outcome,
we know, is going to be the return of the creature to the wild. Our part in
this rescue has merely been one of facilitator or middleman. We invest little
or no inward-drawing emotional attachment to the stray.

Some Extra Polation
If we are in conversation with a friend and they say, “I was
thinking of doing xxx,” then there’s a good chance we’ll make some inner
judgement of their thinking – based upon our own view of and relationship with
xxxx. The thinking here, we know, is not ours at all. It is theirs – and at
this stage there we have invested no emotional matter in this.
Until, that is, the very moment we pay attention to
our judgement. Our Judge may
pronounce and we might say, “Yes, what a good idea,” or perhaps grow xxxx by
saying, “Have you thought of doing xxxx THIS way,” or maybe say, “I’m not so
sure – is doing xxxx a good idea?”
All at once the Stray that our friend brought to the
conversation is becoming Our Stray. We are now thinking about xxxx and
investing some of our emotional
matter by taking the Stray IN. The closer our caring and emotional ties are with
our friend, the more we will invest. If we think xxxx is a great idea then we’ll
respond with interest and enthusiasm – if we think it is a bad idea then we’ll
respond with a degree of trepidation and try to warn our friend off doing xxxx.
Whatever we think, of course, will have a bearing upon our judgement
and response. The extent of our emotional investment in the response is
relative to the closeness of our friend and how we view xxxx.
These are the parameters of our relationship with The Stray.
So what about when I say to a friend, “I was thinking of doing xxxx.”

Considering Doppler
In physics, the Doppler shift is
shift in
the wavelength of light or sound that depends on the relative motion of the
source and the observer. It is related to the Doppler effect – when we
notice that the sound coming from a car horn or engine changes pitch when it
passes us by. We, the observer, in this case are stationary, and the moving car
approaches us and then goes away from us. The wavelength of the sound from the
car changes relative to us but not to itself – or to any person who is in the
Now, to return to my conversation with a friend – how does
this now appear, through the metaphorical filter of the Doppler shift?
If we look upon a person as being separate from their
thoughts, we have the following relationship here – A, A’s thoughts, B, B’s
thoughts. It is a kind of 4-voice structure.
To a distant observer we still have two persons, A and B, in
conversation. A tells B about something he has thought and B gives A his
response. Roles may be reversed, yet the observer knows no more and sees no
difference between A or B. He knows they are thinking and telling each other
their thoughts, though he knows nothing about xxxx.
If I see someone standing alone on a street corner, I am
observing a conversation. And that is a conversation between that someone and
their thoughts. I cannot hear the conversation, yet I know there is one going
on. I am the observer and the dynamic Source
is the relationship between that someone and his thoughts. If he moves away from the street corner, he takes his thoughts with him – obviously!
If we take the detail of this relationship and drill into it
a little further we still have the Source
and the Observer. Only NOW the
Observer is the “someone” and the
Source is his thoughts.
Or, in
another metaphorical sense, I am the
Observer and the Source is a Stray.

Doppler Shift
However the shift comes when “I” enters the dynamic of the
relationship. And here’s the thing:
“I” owns his own thoughts. They aren’t
just any old bits of thinking – they are HIS. He has invested in them and grown
them. They might have started out as Strays, but in terms of “mental time” that was a long time ago.
Now they have credence in the hierarchy of thought.

This ownership is how
we fail to recognise any thought of our own for what it really is and where it
came from.
In terms of the Doppler shift, we fail to understand the
Source of Thoughts relative to Ourselves the Observer. We believe Ourselves to
be the Source of our Thoughts. My thoughts are my own – aren’t they?
And for those thoughts that approach us and we seize upon
and take ownership of, there is never the Doppler Effect, the noticeable change
of frequency, as they move on and away from us. And the more thoughts we take
ownership of, the more Strays we take in, the less of “moving on and leaving” effect we notice.
Eventually, we might come to never notice the effect at all.
Have you ever tried to let go of your thoughts? How on Earth would you know you’d
let go of them? What would tell you they were no longer around?
Well I’ve thrown in some metaphorical clues here which will
be much more recognisable once you let go of the assumption that the Source of your thoughts is You.
The next clue is to see Stray thoughts for what they really are, and do not lavish
too much care or invest too much emotion in them.
Another clue is to recognise the Doppler shift of thoughts approaching and
thoughts leaving. This will tell you when you’ve let go and that they are no
longer around.
Another clue is to question more about your emotional investments and how
lavish your caring is. Your body will usually tell you how much of that is
going on.

Remember that we are always caught up in the hurly-burly of
life, and as such we can never be in a constant state of monitoring. Life is
for Living, after all and if we were to realise how much of it we spend taking
in Strays then we’d change that straight away!