Sometimes our lives seem to be driven by our thoughts, emotions, cravings and memories, and we allow them to be in control. But this is not how it should be. There is a lovely metaphor, Passengers on the Bus, which invites us to let the thoughts and events that usually govern us, just sit in our brains like passengers on a bus. The bus is our mind, and the passengers are all our various experiences and thoughts.
But in this metaphor, you are the bus driver and you're in charge. You are in your own little compartment where you can carry on separately from all the chatter that is going on between the passengers on the bus.
As the bus driver, you make all the decisions about the bus you are driving. Some passengers may voice their opinions loudly and forcefully, while others may remain silent. You, as the driver, might hear the passengers relaying their thoughts and feelings. It could be a very noisy and confusing journey. Impatience may scream at you to "HURRY UP!" Fear might scream “Turn here!” “Don't go there!” says Panic. “Turn around!” yells Anxious. Depression may tell you to STOP!
But if you listened to all these thoughts and emotions and did everything they told you, the confusion of stopping, starting, turning around, speeding up or slowing down at everyone’s whim, or venturing onto unpaved roads, will be too much for the bus to handle.
A passenger may make a comment, but the driver does not necessarily have to listen to that comments or believe it to be true. Because on your bus, without realising, you could find yourself listening to the passengers' needs and letting them affect you. But what we forget is that these passengers, their thoughts, feelings, memories, or urges, have no effect on the bus's driver or mechanics of the bus. They can only be passengers since you are always the driver. They can tell you that you're foolish or that you'll fail, but they can't make you stop or change speed or direction.
Their shouts and screams could even make you upset or anxious. You can either stop the bus and tell the passengers to get off or turn around and argue with them. But, in the end, arguing almost always results in you doing nothing, other than wasting time whilst arguing with these mischief makers, and getting nowhere.
At certain times in your life, some of the passengers on your bus may be more powerful, convincing, or oppressive than others. They may seem to have an effect on the way you drive the bus, when you are more vulnerable. On the bus, there are a lot of people. But it's not that they're there that's the issue; it's that the bus driver believes them or gives in to their demands!
Understanding that what passengers say is simply a part of the bus ride is the greatest way to manage these ‘people’. On the bus, each passenger has a seat and is allowed to express their own ideas or opinions. Regardless of how persistent or loud they are, this does not mean that they can, or will drive the bus. As a result, they should not be permitted to do so.
Even if everyone on board is screaming for you to go straight on at 80 mph, you, as the bus driver can turn left at 20 mph if you want to. It's all about driving the bus yourself, turning right or left as you like, and going at your own pace. You're not following the instructions of all those rowdy passengers. They're just along for the journey, after all.
You are the one in charge.
The bus is under your command.
So, I invite you to let the thoughts and events that usually control you, just sit in your brain like passengers on a bus. Put yourself in the drivers compartment with a screen around you, as if you are in a bubble. You cannot be harmed by the thoughts and ramblings of the passengers, and you do not have to listen to them or act upon them.