If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.
Image by chris zerbes
- Peace Pilgrim
The model is Steffi, part and result of a workshop couple of weeks ago. More to come…
Article by Akhil Dua
The best decision I have taken in the past few years is to start companies that matter. My first project was a healthy snack business using lentils. Now it is MarriageWise. Some people get inspiration and lessons on life through traveling, reading self-help books or by watching movies. For me, it is starting and running a problem solving business. It has taught me more about myself than anything else. The problem is that it is a very lonely road. It’s like you’re in the middle of a dessert and have a seed in your hand that you would like to one day see as a tree. Resources are short, no guidelines or a magic formula and not many will believe in your vision. Every single day is a battle to motivate and believe in yourself to move forward and remove negative thoughts.
I see a similar pattern when we are going through a bad patch in life. It could be divorce, death of a spouse or any other personal matter. Negative thoughts on love and life occupy our minds and make us anxious.
The biggest evil is the negative voice of criticism. You could be having a great day and suddenly a negative thought could completely change your attitude and mood. The voice of criticism comes in two shapes: 1) Self criticism i.e. negative thoughts and lack of belief in ourselves 2) Criticism from others, most of the times from our close friends and family.
1) Self crticism: To a certain extent self criticism makes sense. No one knows you better than you. So if there should be any criticism it should be coming from yourself. Only if things were that easy. The mind can be your biggest enemy if it controls you instead of you controlling it.
Why did it happen to me?
I feel lonely, I deserve to be lonely
I lost my chance at happiness, now suffer
2) Outside criticism: Your loved ones which includes immediate and extended family, friends and peers are feeling bad for you. There isn’t much that they can do to help you except showing that they care and are there if needed. Although they have your best interest at heart they don’t know exactly what you are going through and you should not expect them to know either. No wonder what they think is best for you might comes across as absurd and illogical.
We will decide for you because your choice and judgement are not good
Kya life ho gayi hai iski, hamesha akele
At your age you cannot find a good boy/girl to marry
Here’s how to remove negative thoughts from affecting your life:
1) Observe and pay attention
Keep a journal handy with you all the time for a week. Every time a negative though enters your mind or someone says something that is not constructive,write it down. At the end of the day you should have a list that you can go through and put a star next to the ones that had the biggest impact on your daily routine, mood or attitude. Soon you will start seeing negative thinking patterns.
Use the following questions as a guide -a) When do I notice the most criticism? Is it more active from within me or from outside?
b) About how many times do I judge myself? How many times do I find myself judging others? How many times do I allow others to judge me?
c) What did the voice of criticism stop me from today? In the past? How is it impacting my future?
d) When I’m around people, how long before the the voice of criticism appears? When I hear it, how do I handle it?
e) When and where is the voice of criticism most absent?
The only way we can find solutions to a problem is by first observing it and understanding it. Then you can figure out what to do with it or how to destroy it. How? By silencing the voice and calming your mind through meditation.
2) Calming the ‘monkey mind’
In her article ‘Meditate your work to a creative mind’ Anya Kamenetz talks about the fact that Buddhists call a restless and unsettled mind ‘monkey mind’. The Chinese take it a step forward and have a similar metaphor ‘mind-monkey will-horse’ which means that a restless mind will pace up and down. By learning and practicing meditation we can control our mind and react less automatically when being judged or criticised.
Here’s the basic form of meditation and simple instructions, courtesy of How To Meditate -
The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.
We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.
At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.
About the Author
Akhil Dua is an online entrepreneur and founder of MarriageWise. An online matrimony catered to second marriages.
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