Here is a highly effective and simple technique to free yourself from the influence of negative thoughts which may be disturbing your peace, or creating a sense of anxiety or stress.
It operates on the simple premise that you do not reject the mind – to try and push away or get rid of any thoughts – as this simply energises them, and gives us the idea that they are threatening in some way, which they are not.
So, what we do is we see the thinking mind as exactly what it is. It is not the provider of absolute truth, which many people treat it as. It often behaves like a negative news channel, which wants to provoke emotions within you with its stories and information.
So this is what you do (and it is most effective at night, as you lie down before you fall asleep, although you can do it anytime). You begin by relaxing your body and accepting that your mind is going to tell you lots of things, as it usually does when we become quiet and still. There is no effort or desire to control it; you simply enjoy relaxing your body, ready for the mind’s inevitable news broadcast.
Now, you firmly decide that whatever your mind tells you, whether it is good or bad, convincing or not, terrifying or deeply exciting, you will not believe a single word of it. You will not respond to it emotionally. You will just notice it, objectively, while remaining relaxed and uninterested in pursuing any particular thought. The key to this state of objectivity is to allow your body to remain relaxed, as you gently breathe in and out. If you notice your body tense up (which is usually in response to a thought) you simply relax it again and enjoy focussing on your breathing.
When our body is in a relaxed state, there is more space within the tissues of the muscles, and our awareness can flow more freely through them. This simply feels very enjoyable, because freedom from tension is our natural physical state. We just have to notice how our involvement with thought interferes with this.
A very good thing to do is to say to your mind: “Okay, give me the worst you’ve got..” and just watch how your mind tries to produce thoughts that it thinks will make you feel bad. This is a very funny thing to do, because the mind can only present us with thoughts. Nothing more. Just thoughts. And thoughts simply cannot hurt you. It is only by choosing to engage with a thought that you might experience an emotional reaction that might be unpleasant for us. But the choice to engage is ours, and we usually only engage because we think there is some truth in the thought.
So when we decide to disbelieve every single thought, even just for a short period, this means that your mind can present you with whatever information it wants without you being influenced by what it is saying. This means the mind is not being controlled, it is being allowed. There is no fear of what it is saying, therefore no desire to control it. This brings a sense of conscious freedom to our mind that it rarely experiences. You have taken a friendly attitude to your mind, because it offers no threat. You simply enjoy remaining calm, relaxed and totally unaffected by a single thought, including the positive ones, because you see that they are only thoughts. They are just like clouds in the sky of your mind. They are not reality, they have no substance. They are just thoughts, and when you leave them alone, they pass.
This is a very simple way to disconnect how you feel from the thoughts that arise. And it is useful because thoughts mostly only create a disturbance in the natural sense of well-being and peace which comes from our heart.
Now, the complicated problem that many people have is that they allow positive thoughts to influence the way they feel, but they don’t want negative thoughts to influence them. However, because thought is dualistic, a two-sided coin, then you cannot just choose one side of the coin (positivity) and reject the other side (negativity). The only way to be free of the influence of thought is to cut the cord completely, so you do not allow it to emotionally influence the way you feel at all. This may sound very boring or cold and unfeeling to some people, but it is the only way not to be at the mercy of thoughts.
Without the influence of thought, Love is more heartfelt than sentimental. Joy is still totally available; and in fact it is heightened. Peace is still available, and it is deepened because these states of being come from the heart when it is relaxed and untroubled. Peace, joy and love, do not need to be evoked by thinking. They are the natural feelings that come from being alive within a healthy and relaxed body, free of the tension created by thinking.
You will see this as you try this very simple and liberating technique.
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