The Great Big Filing Cabinet in Your Mind

The Buddhists talk about monkey mind, that incessant chatter that just won’t go away. You may have heard about therapies that target cognitive thoughts, try to stop them, and replace them with more productive thoughts. And then there are all those affirmations, the good thoughts that you try to integrate in your mind in the hopes that the bad thoughts will just go away, but when they don’t fizzle as you hoped, file them. It sounds like a ridiculous notion. How can you file something that is not tangible? Actually, you can.

Thoughts are things. You have heard that idea hundreds of times—or maybe this is the first time—but it is the truth. Your thoughts have energy and meaning and power. They are at the crux of everything you do. When you want to create something new, you use your imagination and it is the thought that helps you to develop what you want. But when the bad thoughts disturb you—you are thinking about your bills or an unreturned phone call—file them. Okay, so thoughts are things, but that is just an idea. I mean, how can you file an idea?

Just as you file paper, imagine the thought being filed. In other words, imagine what the thought looks like. If the thought is about a person, visualize the person. If it is about an object, think about that object. Then, mentally put it away so you can return to it later. For example, you get the mail and that newly arrived credit card bill is glaring at you. You can feel the fear in your solar plexus because you do not know what it will reveal. Payday is not until next week so you can’t pay it now. Of course, you know the bill won’t be due for two and a half weeks. So what do you do? You can look or not look, but physically put the bill in a pile of your paperwork to be done, and also—very important—mentally file the bill. You don’t have to deal with it now. It need not linger in your mind. The charges are already there. It’s done. Just file the thought.

One reason to file the thought is that tomorrow is a new day. Maybe you will get an unexpected check in the mail. Maybe you will find a fifty dollar bill on the street. Who knows. Another reason to file it is so the mental clutter will not disturb your day and you can go ahead with your life in a positive frame of mind. The bill is just one example, but it is used here because it is such a common stressor. Bills will always be there no matter what happens, but your life goes on in spite of it. These ordinary things—thoughts, things, everything—come and go. Money comes and goes. Bills come in. They usually are paid. Sometimes they are paid late. Sometimes they are discharged in bankruptcy. Sometimes, they inexplicably disappear due to a twist of fate. Who cares. When you file a stressful thought—no matter what it is– it will make a tremendous difference in your day. What are you waiting for?

For help with the use of this concept, download our free Mental Clutter Worksheet (Go to Free Stuff and Find the FileItWorksheet).