I remember one day earlier this summer I was getting ready to meet a friend for dinner in the city. Before heading out the door, to leave, I changed my clothes about 10 times, all the while my mind reeling with all sorts of concerns about who would see me and if I'd be presentable enough, and then a bunch of "what ifs" that prolonged departure.
The moment created an atmosphere where I was focusing too much on myself as opposed to receiving truth that could have prepared me to bring words of healing or a headspace of peace for listening to my friend that evening. My motives were topical and I engaged them more than soundness, where my meditations could be conducive to more wholesome, substantive, wise thoughts.
I've noticed myself in more such moments along the way before and since then: where the thoughts behind the things I'm doing are informed by distracting motives that pretentiously arrive when my mind is meant to be engaged with the edification of silence.
Maybe I'm the only one who deals with this, but I'm writing this post with the inkling that I'm not.
What are pretentious thoughts? They're thoughts that have the nerve to make an appearance in your mind uninvited, and disguised as YOU, to have a conversation with your soul and spirit and all you contain when you’re meant to be focused on something more important. Imagine a loud, boisterous, smelly bag lady entering your apartment with muddy feet and demanding an audience with you—in your bedroom.
...yea, that’s what pretentious thoughts are like. They take advantage of an emotion you're experiencing and use it as an open door to march into your mind and keep you busy with them whilst you leave important meditations and preparatory headspaces untended. They waste your time with foolishness and fantasies about things that aren’t real or haven’t/won’t take place and as you use time and energy discoursing with these, you’re missing a moment where poetry, wisdom, deeper understanding, a revelation, or inspiration wish to drop gems.
Pretentious thoughts aim to use your limbs to express themselves; and while that’s taking place you consequently end up neglecting your power to overcome them and engage with their low-level conversations that render you useless to spaces you enter and people you encounter.
The pretentious thoughts I was dealing with during my clothing debacle had an opportunity to show up because something in me had left the door open for them to walk through. Worse: I was entertaining them instead of asking the Creator why I had been afforded the opportunity to meet with my friend, what interior atmosphere I needed to prepare for what I’d face when leaving the house. See the difference? That shallow space of fretting, that pretentious motive was performative as opposed to substantive. And the result was making a performance and neglecting potential insights I could have tapped into and brought with me for dinner conversation. Who knows, my friend could have needed me to say something that the Divine wanted to place in my spirit just before leaving my house. Instead of being a vessel for that fruitful dialogue I was filling my mind with concerns about my appearance. At the opportune moment I was motivated by vain suggestions to choose a dress or shirt and missing precious gems that could have come to my soul as I readied in quiet.
As Thinking Teastained Women, we have to make a lifestyle of taking certain thoughts, snatching them away from our precious minds by their weaves and telling them where to go and how to get there and to stay away from our soundness. If given enough time and space, entertained and dialogued with, certain thoughts will takeover, try to force their way into being accepted as truth, will mar our meditations and thus defile our movement through and impact on the world. We have to catch such thoughts in the act before they run wild and metastasize into mindsets that run (ruin) what we truly carry as we have encounters or opportunities to speak into another.
Concurrently, we also have to make time to think about what we're thinking about--literally make a lifestyle out of it!!-- calling out even the most seemingly innocent of thoughts and asking what within us has made a hospitable space for them to exist. Because, if left unchecked, these thoughts that enter our minds can start rearranging important stuff, talking to our possibility and striking convincing lie-riddled conversation with our spirit man. Next thing you know you’re fluent in foolishness and ill-prepared to carry revelations of truth and wisdom.
Next, there's motive. Why do you do the things you do? In a day and age where, if Instagram isn't influencing us Pinterest is, we have to be vigilant about the root motive behind our actions. The proliferation of ad and image, means most of the motives behind what we do aren't as original, pure as we think they are, influenced by commercials, memes, entertainment fantasies, others' words, fear, brokenness insecurity, etc.
Since motives are essentially wishes that need your body to come true, allowing their whispers to permeate your mind without your inquisition gives them permission to use your bones, your heart, your actions, your occupation to reroute you from your destination and curtail your power, and silute your words in everyday life. Motives access your motor: they can change your plans and yes, your mind without you realizing it.
Even worse: they can dilute your state of mind so that you aren’t as mentally present or effective with your presence as you move through the world. Because your headspace is possessed by some distracting, unimportant thoughts your soul and spirit aren’t being engaged for you to function in your gifts. All your mental energy is going into arguing with what’s in your mind instead of putting those thoughts in their place and operating at a higher level. Instead of giving headspace to the sound and uplifting you’re concerned with pretentious imaginary ideas etc. that have changed the motives behind your activities. It’s not worth it.
Discern your motives. Why are you REALLY wearing THIS outfit? Why did you REALLY create that playlist with THOSE songs? Why did you REALLY deviate from ordering your regular to try this food or beverage you might not like? Why did you REALLY sit there? Why did you REALLY not speak to that person? Why did you REALLY start that business? Why did you REALLY invite her to tea? Why did you REALLY let him touch you? Why did you REALLY sleep with that person? Why would you agree with what they said to you, about you? Why did you REALLY choose that pair of earrings? Why did you decide to drink? Think. Meditate. Pray. What minute emotion are you seeking to empower with a banal task, distracting you from protecting and feeding the vision and possibility you carry?
Before you use your body to act, ask why you're doing so; question what's been sitting in the back of your head churning an idea into a plan of action that expresses through the choreography of your soulful journey. Then ask how the thoughts racing through your mind are distracting you from preparing to function in your gifts, host an internal atmosphere where words of wisdom can thrive, or accomplish a part of your vision.
It's not always easy to disconnect from your thoughts and examine them for faulty motives and meditations. Truth is, we'll make more mistakes than not due to thoughts that were given too much hospitality by our minds, able to maneuver their way into sacred spaces. It's worth it to fight back, to let toxic thoughts know that we're onto them and to stop them as soon as we find them burglarizing our minds. We first have to learn their tactics--in this case, motive and pretension--to be able to discern their patterns in our lives.
The journal helps with this too, enabling us to catalog the ways our thoughts are engaged and creating a narrative on how we can be more vigilant in guarding them. We keep a journal to keep track of our thoughts, seeing them on paper so we can see ourselves clearly. The journal allows us to see where the tarnishing may have occurred and thus we can observe how to best get back on track to where we are trying to go. We can also see when certain motives have distracted us from the bigger picture and where our minds were more concerned with some topical motive than with coming up higher and finding the frequency at which we were meant to be functioning in that moment.
But you can't always wait until you get to your journal to call yourself out for entertaining pretentious or ill-motivated thoughts, so hopefully your journal will teach you how they sound so you can shut them down when they begin making noise within you.
Guard your mind.