The following article is written by Andrew Thompson, the founder of Inspirational Works, an organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, providing “Events that Inspire, Motivate and Transform Lives”. Inspirational Works has hosted Byron Katie, and is thrilled to be hosting Don Miguel Ruiz (author of The Four Agreements and other books), April 9th-11th, 2010. Andrew has been a fellow traveler with us at AYP (Advanced Yoga Practices), and is also dedicated to unveiling and sharing new ways of working with mind more effectively. Thank you Andrew for sharing your words of wisdom with us.
We go through our lives with our minds constantly active, day and night whether we are sleeping or awake. While awake, thoughts can come at a tremendous rate, often one on top of another, it happens very automatically and seemingly without control.
So much of our thinking is repetitive and when we listen closely, we can notice that our minds are often expressing our fears, frustrations, judgments and concerns. With each thought there is a corresponding emotional reaction and often a reinforcement of a limiting belief. When a thought comes along about something in our lives that isn’t going the way we want, we can feel a variety of so called “negative” emotions in reaction like anger, fear, sadness etc. So it can be observed that what we think quite clearly impacts our emotional state and hence our enjoyment or lack of it in our daily life experience.
So yes, thinking can be very automatic and can feel like something we can’t really influence, but practice would suggest otherwise. Often we don’t realize it, but we practice thinking particular thoughts all the time. How do we inadvertently practice this? Many have experienced how repetitive our minds can be, there seems to be so much energy caught up in much of our thinking. Sometimes we will become aware of how certain negative thoughts will repeat in our minds over and over again. This in itself is a form of practice even if much of it happening subconsciously and automatically. This constant repetition of negative thinking will eventually impact our emotional state and create a negative life experience of misery and unhappiness. When our thoughts are repeatedly negative or about subject matter that upsets us in some way, we can imagine how we feel at the end of a day.
The good news is that we can also choose our thoughts more consciously as well. If it is our desire, we can intentionally create a life where we live feel positive feelings like love, gratitude and peace or relaxation. Right now in this moment, we can choose to say to ourselves pretty much anything we want. We can choose a thought that describes how we feel about a loved one and when we do, there is a corresponding emotional sensation. How does it feel to think about how we love someone or something in our lives?
We can also choose a thought that describes something we are grateful for and it feels good to be grateful. We can even choose to repeat a thought about how we would like to feel in the near future. For example, we could notice we feel tense and instead repeat “I am physically relaxed and emotionally calm”. The positive emotional reactions from thinking positively like this will eventually have an impact even if it can be hard to notice at times. Thinking positively will help remove the tension from our bodies and we relax and feel better when this happens. With repeated practice, the effects of intentionally choosing positive thoughts or observations about our lives can be seen in a powerful way and we can create a wondrous emotional experience every day of love, gratitude and peace or whatever else we choose.
Of course the mind will not simply give up the old habits of thinking negatively over night. The mind has a lot of practice and repetitions of thinking negatively for many, many years so time and practice of the desired positive thoughts and corresponding emotions needs to be given in order to turn the mental and emotional “ship” around. It is all about repetitions. How many positive thoughts are you willing to intentionally practice in a day? How many times will you feel grateful or love for something in your life? It is up to you how much you want to practice, the more you practice and repeat the desired thoughts, the better you will get at it and the happier you will feel.
In addition, the way we practice will also have an impact. In other words the “technique” used to intentionally repeat the positive thought and create the corresponding emotional reactions we want is important. So use good technique and rather than simply repeating something positive in quick rapid succession without really feeling it, take your time and repeat a positive thought once, feel the emotional results and then release it into silence by being aware of the silence before repeating it again. This can be a very powerful and effective way to practice and will require fewer repetitions over the long term to create a positive thinking habit and a happy emotional body.
So if we want to feel good let’s choose our thoughts carefully and redirect our minds to repeat things that empower us and make us feel good rather than bad. Daily practice of intentional positive thinking with “good technique” will yield results over the long term and can improve our enjoyment of life in powerful and meaningful way. This coupled with other proven practices that help us to create a positive life experience like meditation, self inquiry, yoga etc. will help us to change ourselves even more quickly and live the dream of life that we have always wanted.
~ Andrew Thompson
Founder of Inspirational Works
Related Living Unbound Lessons and Resources:
- Our Mind Window
- Mind Shafts
- Transcending The Tyranny Of Ideas
- Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In Reality
- Living Unbound: Identifying Mind Stories
- Living Unbound: Accepting Reality
- Shifting Attention TechniqueDissolving Mind Shafts
- The Work ~ Byron Katie