Posts Tagged happiness
Bad experiences sometimes leave deep wounds on our psyche – scars that take a long time to heal. While time generally does heal most wounds, we don’t do ourselves any favors by going back and picking at them. In fact, replaying bad experiences over again in your mind is a recipe for disaster, for the negative thoughts and emotions that were buried can be brought back to life with explosively destructive force, just like a landmine buried long ago in a forgotten war. The cultivation of greater mindfulness, however, can help us navigate through this personal minefield, alerting us whenever we get too close to danger.
Some of us do a better job than others of just going with the flow of life, and not spending too much time looking back with regret, recrimination, or guilt, to name just a few of the toxic emotions that can accompany our memories. But for almost all of us, there have been some particularly painful moments along the way, and these are the landmines that we must map out and stay away from, lest we unleash a damaging flow of thoughts and emotions. The emotions associated with past traumas don’t just make us miserable; they also have creative (which in this case means destructive) potential, transforming the events that transpire in our outer reality as well as the inner landscape which can often be bad enough by itself.
What sort of events have you buried?
- An argument with a co-worker or family member?
- An accident that you caused?
- The death of a loved one or pet?
- Rejection by an object of your affection?
- Getting fired from a job?
- Failing a test at school?
- Saying something that hurt someone else’s feelings?
- Betraying a friend’s confidence?
- A period of severe poverty and insecurity?
- The time other people abused you verbally or physically?
Obviously, the list is endless. There’s a pretty good chance that you’re working on something in your own list right now. Our inherent “negativity bias” is almost irresistible, constantly drawing us back to the worst memories and the most negative expectations for the future. That sort of thinking once made sense in an earlier evolutionary environment, where the avoidance of real threats to our survival was paramount, but in today’s generally much safer world, this default “doom and gloom” setting does us no favors at all.
Awareness of the Danger Will Protect You
While conventional mindfulness practices, which teach us to be aware of what we’re doing, moment-to-moment, with our minds, can tell us when we’re dwelling on negative memories, they don’t do nearly enough to inform us about the very real danger of this type of thinking. Buddhist mindfulness does not embrace the much more modern New Age concept that we create our physical realities with our thoughts and emotions, and simply confines itself to inner reality.
While there is undoubtedly real benefit to be derived from a more harmonious inner life, the real danger we must avoid is the physical manifestation of our negative thoughts and feelings. This danger is very real, and the power of our most upsetting memories is particularly likely to expose us to harmful manifestations. For unlike the positive manifestation goals so beloved of self-help authors like Rhonda Byrne, we know exactly what these bad experiences feel like and we can remember every little painful detail in technicolor glory. In short, it’s much, much easier to create bad realities than good ones, and we have to police ourselves constantly to protect ourselves from these self-inflicted wounds.
So the next time you catch yourself dwelling upon the worst events of your past, just stop. No matter how justified you feel you are in rehashing that event, you must remind yourself of the power of your thoughts and emotions. A simple way to manage yourself is to ask whether you want to relive that experience – or something very similar to it – again. Because if you don’t watch out, that is exactly what will happen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When replaying past events, one of the most damaging thought patterns we must avoid is that of self-blame. Critics of the New Age use that issue as an argument against the reality-creation principle, but it is – ironically – a strong argument in favor of New Age ideas. To see why, visit this thoughtful Meditation Blog.
- Recovering our True Self: The Journey Out of Our Negative States (mediumsworld.wordpress.com)
Down through the centuries, spiritual teachers of all traditions have differentiated between our mundane, invented personality so filled with stress, and our true identity characterized by serenity, constancy, and wisdom. They urge us to discover our inner depths and that vaster Self which enables right action in the world. Everyone of us is meant to live with joy and compassionate outreach to the people around us. We are designed to be masters of our selves, capable of overcoming all the difficulties of life. This is our birthright, but in order to experience it, we must recognize how far we are from living in this manner, why this is so, and what efforts we must make to live in such a way. This new awareness and these efforts are the process that leads us out of our negative emotional habits in order to enter into the depths of our spiritual nature.
To recover from our ingrained habits and our subconscious imitations of parents and peers is truly spiritual warfare. It is the narrow way that few want to travel as it requires going against the grain of our own behavior. It is making the hard choices rather than taking the easy way as we always have. This process takes place in the trenches of our most ordinary interactions with the world. Authentic spiritual development takes place in that moment of irritation, that moment of unkindness, that moment of selfishness that we encounter the heat of the battle. This inner battle determines who we are and how we live this life during our brief journey through time.
Here then are some specific methods for recovering from those toxic habits:
The first and most fundamental effort is the objective study of ourselves. Why? Because nothing real can take place until we know what we are dealing with. We cannot take for granted that we know how or why we function the way we do. If you want to operate a computer, you have to learn the software. Human beings are complex software indeed and are rarely user friendly. So tryobserving yourself from a completely neutral standpoint. Do not judge what you see. Just see it. Observe your reactions, your attitudes, your moods and the many aspects of yourself that take charge from moment to moment. If you do this with sincerity and courage, not justifying every action and passing thought, you will begin to see yourself more objectively and initiate the awareness of the Observing Self who will be the key to your recovery.
This simple effort begins the process of creating a space within you that is not completely hypnotized by external events. Though you still react to external circumstances through ingrained habit, there is now this sliver of your Self that is not pulled out of you. A new space of inner freedom is being created along with a new sense of a deeper identity than the surface personality.
Another critical aspect of this observation is the study of our negative states. You will be amazed at how much of our time is spent under the dominance of these dark moods and thoughts. You will catch yourself grumbling about other people, feeling dejected over this or that event, complaining about the weather, resenting something somebody said. Nothing healthy can grow under the constant downpour of this acid rain within you. Eventually, you will discover that you can free yourself from such unpleasant behavior and states of mind. Step one is to turn off the leaking faucet: stop expressing negative emotions.
This effort is the beginning of separating yourself from them. You don’t have to accept living in those dark states. You are not them. They are bad habits acquired over a lifetime. If you want healing and joy in your life, you must stop the momentum of negativity. One of the important things to observe about negative states is how much energy they take away from us. If you are aware of yourself before and after a moment of rage, you will see very clearly how much energy has been lost in that brief moment. We only have so much energy available to us each day, and we can use it to be healed and renewed, or we can squander it thoughtlessly.
So notice your thoughts before they plant themselves in your feelings and eventually manifest in your actions. Anger at a colleague or spouse can be caught before it has caused internal and external damage. In that more rational, detached place before the feeling has caught you by the throat, you can notice why you are angry. What is it in you that is reacting that way? What is it in your colleague that has caused his or her behavior which is so disturbing? Anger can then turn into compassion, or at least into a new insight about yourself or another.
After self-observation and separation from negative states comes the next all-important practice: becoming present to the moment. Experience the moment as it is, for what it is. Becoming present grounds you in reality here and now and takes you out of the tempests of imagination and inner talking that fill the mind with so much noise. Become present not only to your surroundings, but to your body. Relax the tensions that you haven’t even noticed before: In the shoulders, in the jaws, in the stomach. Begin to experience the revitalizing peace of being alive in this moment. Those of you familiar with meditation know how helpful it is to regulate one’s breathing in order to center oneself. Just breathing in and out slowly to ease the inner tensions is a powerful tool for nourishing your spirit in the moment. Learn to sit quietly for awhile. This is no luxury or idle behavior. We are so wracked with stress and worry that we cannot recover enough to get back in touch with ourselves until we are released from the grip of our anxieties. We rob ourselves of the very joy of living when we let ourselves fall into endless worry and nervous tension. Take time to let go of all that.
This daily effort teaches us to stop or at least to step back from the constant flow of thoughts that creates reality for us. This means that most of our worrying and anxious considerations fall by the wayside and we are able to rise above the clouds of our immediate concerns to the larger picture of our existence as a whole. Sometimes, however, the flood of thoughts refuses to slow no matter what we do. Our nerves are so frayed that we cannot achieve the simple peace of looking out the window and enjoying the view without anything coming to mind. That’s when you might employ the stop exercise. In the midst of a thought or daydream, tell yourself to stop and abruptly cut short what is going on in your mind. Then relax your body and look around you, just seeing what is there. Take a vacation from the inner turmoil.
So our daily practice for recovering from a life polluted with negative emotional habits includes: objective observation of our selves, separation from negative states, quieting the mind, and becoming present to the moment. You will notice how these practices begin to take us out of our usual nervous tension and keep us from mindlessly responding to everything around us by turning a portion of our attention inward and by expanding our perspective in the moment. We then become more than our self-centered, habitual mass of reactions.
If you apply these techniques regularly, you will soon find yourself living more frequently in that space of peace, of centeredness, of recovery from being victims of automatic reactions. Then you will find that you become capable of a serenity and acceptance of what is, of a surrender of selfishness that empowers you to help others as well as yourself.
Such a journey of emotional and psychological recovery offers us a new spiritual empowerment which enables us to accept life as it comes, even with all its complications and the capacity to act rightly in any given situation. This developing inner power creates a free human being who is no longer entangled in his or her selfishness and constant stream of fears and desires. Such a person can journey through life in peace, with wisdom and compassion. Such a person makes the world a better place.
About the Author
Ted Nottingham is the author and translator of a dozen books, the producer of numerous televised programs, and the pastor of Northwood Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Many of us know the harmful effect of negativity. Napolean Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich says; “There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it’s positive or negative.”
It is probably easier to be negative than positive. It is easy to slide into a blaming culture, the poor little old me mindset. We all know the importance of being positive and usually more effort is needed to a maintain positivity as it is easy to slide into negativity.
However, you can avoid negativity and disallow it to ruin your life by recognising them. Negative energy in our life can be ourselves and the people around us.
Personal negativity could come in the form of suspicion, mistrust and self doubt. Very often many of us allow negativity to invade our thoughts, for example, doubting the possibility that things are going smoothly, believing that there is a catch somewhere, always wary about being taken for a ride and being jealous of another person’s achievements. As we are the master of our own destiny and our thoughts can make or break us, such negativity will hinder our progress and even destroy something that is going well.
Negativity energy could also come from people could be our colleagues, our friends and family. When you are around people who say things to cast doubts in your mind, complained about almost everything and whatever other people are doing, it can have a negative effect on your emotions and behaviour. These people live in fear and worry. They can’t control their emotions and they are frequently angry. Being around negative people can drain your energy. Their negativity can lead you to making wrong judgement and decisions.
Sometimes, it may not be possible to stay away from negative people especially if they are family members. However, it is possible to walk away from a negative conversation. Stay away from people who make you doubt yourself or your progress
You know you are becoming a negative person when your venture start failing and your progress get stifled. You will notice that positive people stay away from you and you are surrounded by people who are constantly negative. Eventually, you will become an angry and depressed person.
Remember, nothing gets solved being negative and it will only make worsened our life. Recognise the negative energy, stay away from it and make a conscious effort to be positive.
“Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal power comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.” – Norman Vincent Peale
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- How to Overcome Negative Thoughts (mediumsworld.wordpress.com)
Negative thoughts make us feel down and gloomy. We all know that negativity will destroy us, but we still do it- we think negative, and we behave negatively. To a certain extent, we all worsen our situations just by taking things to another level in our minds. And even though we know that it’s not helping us, we still somehow find ourselves stuck in the spiral of negative thoughts that recur again and again, following different patterns.
Thinking negative is like wearing dirty and dark glasses, because it fogs our vision and gives us a highly distorted image of reality. When you are thinking negative, you can’t find joy in life as your entire mindset convinces you that joy and happiness are not an option for you, and even if you are feeling some happiness, it is only temporary.
Negative thinking leads to negative actions, which creates a wall between you and your friends or other people around you. No matter how kind and open others may be to you, you will not be able to trust them if you do not have a positive outlook towards life. Your negativity will lead you into thinking that their kindness isn’t real, and their good behavior will not last for long.
An especially harmful situation arises when a person enters a stage that is sometimes called the ‘negative negativity’. In this situation, a person is aware of his negative thinking-so much so, that he actually knows the exact pattern of his negative thinking. He is aware that this thinking is destructive for him, and thus he goes into guilt for feeling so negative. And this trap of guilt proves to be even more harmful as it leads to more of negativity.
Yes, it does sound grim. This situation promotes negativity to a higher degree, and creates a spiral. Negative thinking patterns aren’t naturally acquired- they are learned.
When we get the light of positivity, we can see the negativity clearly without giving ourselves a bad time mulling over it. This is when we decide to change ourselves and our way of thinking. It lightens up the heavy burden on our personality.
Here are five great ways to defeat negative thinking:
1. Use breathing techniques
After every few minutes, pause your work and just breathe. Concentrate on your breathing and feel yourself breathe. Enjoy the goodness of things that surround you. If you do this often, you will be more in touch with your inner self and feel tremendous energy, which will purify any negative thinking.
2. Keep a log about negative thinking
Carry a notebook with you. Whenever you feel that you are experiencing a negative pattern, just note it down along with whatever thoughts you are having and the cause behind them. Then after a couple of weeks, sit down and go through that notebook. Try to find some common themes that encourage negative thoughts in you. This will make you more aware about yourself.
3. Do stuff that you like
Take some time out from your schedule and enjoy your life a bit. Do things that make you happy. Everyone wants to be happy, but they mostly can’t find time for it. Take a vacation this weekend, go for long walks in the park, go out for dinner or movie, or get a relaxing massage. Just slow down the pace and give yourself some peace of mind.
4. Appreciate the little things
Learn to see the brighter side of life. Be thankful for who you are and what you have. Keep in mind that no matter what happens in your life, it is still possible to gaze up and behold the magic that is around you. Acknowledge the simple joys of life, like feeling of cool breeze on your skin, or how amazing the universe is. When you appreciate goodness, negativity dissolves away.
5. Spread the joy
Kindness never goes unrewarded. But somehow we all have forgotten this old saying. It is the greatest medicine that eases aching minds and hearts. When you make someone else happy, you get happiness in return. Generosity puts a sure end to negativity and generosity doesn’t have to be always shown. Try leaving the best parking spot for someone else. Or maybe clean up the office lunch room someday, and don’t let anybody know who did it. Doing small things like these will wash away your negativity and you will start feeling good about yourself.
If you be kind in this way, you release positive energy. Even if nobody gets to know about your generous acts, it will cheer you up and you’ll feel better from the inside. This will make you less negative and you will experience personal growth. Follow these simple points honestly and you’ll find a huge difference in less than a month.
Life is perpetual, creative and expansive. It continually creates itself within each moment, so remain attuned to the energy of the moment.
Tony Fahkry – About the Author:
Visit www.tonyfahkry.com for weekly video updates on health, personal development and self awareness matters. I lead you to create lasting health and vitality – more energy to make things happen; maintain a healthy body to look and feel good permanently and create a NEW health destiny.