Feeling discouraged by disturbing thoughts?

Hello my fellow human Beings:

Are you feeling empty, disheartened or discouraged?

Do you have disturbing thoughts infiltrating your mind?

Are you telling yourself negative stories to fill in the gaps of the unknown circumstances in your life?

Negative thoughts and feelings can enter our minds and if we aren’t mindful they can take up house and cram all the closets with their damaging junk.

As noted in Martine Batchelor’s book, Meditation For Life, the Buddha, in one of his verses, said:

“The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as a deed;

The deed develops into habit

And habit hardens into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings.”

This verse from the Buddha reminds us that if we aren’t mindful of the negative thoughts that arise in our minds, we can let them affect what we say and do. Unchecked and unmonitored, harmful thoughts can run amuck in our minds, impinging on our everyday words and actions, and triggering us to believe in more pessimistic thoughts that over time develop into poor habits and character defects.

BUT ALL IS NOT LOST.

There is a solution.

As noted in Martine Batchelor’s book, Meditation For Life, the Buddha’s “Discourse on the Forms of Thought” offers five ways to deal with disturbing thoughts that arise, either in formal meditation or in daily life. Paraphrased, these suggested ways of dealing with troubling thoughts are as follows:

1. To dissipate a negative thought, think of something positive.

(If someone hurts you, instead of focusing on the bad things the or she has done, remember a time when he or she acted kindly.)

2.  Think about the consequences of your thoughts and realize that unskillful thoughts will cause pain to yourself and others.

(When we are lost in our thoughts we see only that they are justified, but with awareness and attention, we can see the negative effects of these thoughts.)

3.  If the disturbing thoughts are too strong, be aware of their destructive nature and then distract yourself in a healthy way.

(When you know that the negative thoughts will lead to a vicious downward spiral that would have painful results, change your focus by going for a walk in nature, playing fetch with your dog, or reading a funny story. → ‘If you do not feed the flames of negativity, the fire will die out by itself.’)

4.  Ask yourself, “Why are you thinking what you are thinking?”

(Examine the root of your negative thoughts.)

5.  If everything else fails and you continue to have disturbing and dangerous thoughts, then stop them by pushing them away.

(Remember that you are bigger and have more potential than any one negative thought. Instead of succumbing to the destructive power of these negative thoughts, just say to yourself “I hear what you are saying, but let it go for now.”)

So if you are feeling discouraged by disturbing thoughts, take heed, there is an answer (or five suggested ways to address the issue).

When you become aware of the disturbing thoughts, take a few deep, conscious breaths.

PAUSE. Be still.

Connect to the words of the Buddha and practice his suggested ways to deal with the disturbing thoughts that arise.

Be mindful and attentive to your thoughts.  Try to cultivate thoughts that grow from love.

In this way, you will continue to take steps (even if they are just baby steps) on the path to your abundant life.

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