Imagine a dark piece of marbled oak wood in front of you. In your hand, you’re holding the stainless steel handle of an etching tool.
Now, picture yourself carving a groove in that piece of wood each time you have a thought. And when you have the same thought, you push that tool through the same groove you created when you thought it before.
Over time, you can see that the thoughts you think more often have far deeper pathways than others.
Next, imagine you’re holding a smooth, glass marble in your hand. You drop the marble on the wood. It quickly passes over the shallow grooves until it falls into one of the deeper pathways where it gets stuck going over and over this same groove.
This is what happens in your mind. The more you think a particular thought, the deeper your pathways become until your mind gets stuck in them.
Now picture you have a grainy piece of sandpaper in your other hand. Each time you notice your thoughts, you get to choose to sand down the old grooves and/or create a new intentional groove.
When you practice mindfulness, you give yourself the ability to smooth away past beliefs and habits and also to choose to create new beneficial beliefs (here’s a 2 min video
on building neuro pathways for you visual learners).
By practicing mindfulness over time, you wind up with a smooth surface where your mind can glide smoothly from thought to thought.