After walking the labyrinth and circling the perimeter around St. John Vianney Church in Sedona, I crossed Soldier Pass Road to hike on the Sunrise Trail.
My thoughts were of Lucky, a relative who had recently died. Lucky loved Sedona, especially the grounds of that church. Thoughts of Lucky led me to reflect on all my family members and friends who had passed from this world.
I was still thinking of the deceased when I started on the Sunrise Trail. Shortly into the walk, I noticed a sign with the name “Gregg” and “the Buckthorn Family.”
Although I had not known him, I wondered about Gregg and the Buckthorn family that had placed this commemorative marker on the trail. Perhaps Gregg was a man who showed deep reverence for nature.
My thoughts moved in a new direction as my gazed lifted beyond the close-at-hand scenery out to the wide Red Rock vista while I walked on.
After a few more steps, my focus came back to the sights along the trail. I noticed another marker. This one said “The Cashew Family.”
I laughed out loud when I realized that the bronze plates I had seen were not to honor people who had died; they were there to identify plants along the trail!
It’s funny, sometimes, how our existing thought patterns can lead us to false conclusions.
The truth is that we all engage in error thinking quite often. And it is usually not funny.
Besides coming to wrong conclusions, as I had on the Sunrise Trail, we all hold limiting and false beliefs about ourselves and the world.
For example, we might belief that we have to be perfect in order to be valuable and lovable. We might believe that others must see things our way and admit that we are “right.” We might believe it is a sign of weakness to say, “I don’t know.”
What can we do about error thinking?
We can be willing to see from other perspectives. We can be willing to see shades of grey instead of just black and white. We can notice when we assume what others are feeling. We can stop comparing ourselves with others. If we find ourselves thinking that we, or others, are not “good enough,” we can let go of negative judgments.
Even though error thinking is usually not funny, we can look for some humor in it. Whether or not we chuckle, we can always practice compassion, expand our thinking, and appreciate more of life’s panorama.