By Gina Lake
Negative thoughts eventually weaken if you don’t give them your attention. The problem is that some negative thoughts are difficult to ignore. Those are most likely to involve feelings, particularly fear. Any fearful thought is quite difficult to ignore because we generally believe our fearful thoughts help keep us safe. However, when we examine this belief—that our fearful thoughts help keep us safe—we see how very little truth there is to it. Most of our fears never manifest, not because thinking about them prevented them, but because our fears are generally not grounded in reality. They are just thoughts about some future possibility.
The ego generates fears as a way of keeping us tied to it. It generates fears and then a plan to avoid those fears, which is unnecessary and useless. We can waste a lot of time and energy worrying about and planning for things that never happen. Essence has ways of protecting us from whatever we aren’t meant to experience. It protects us in moments of danger by telling us intuitively what we need to do to be safe. As for things we are meant to experience, there is little we can do about those but bring essence to them when they occur. A good rule of thumb is: If it’s a fear, it isn’t worth your attention. All fears come from the ego, and these thoughts, like so many others, are not good guides for how to live our life.
Other thoughts that can be difficult to ignore are thoughts about the past that are charged with feelings. Some investigative work might need to be done with recurring thoughts that relate to a traumatic or difficult event. But for the most part, ignoring them as best you can will cause them to arise less frequently and with less intensity. On some level, we think we can change the past by thinking about it, but thinking about the past has no value, and it takes us out of the present where all is well and all is always well.
Analyzing a troubling experience from the past can stir up more emotions and keep you tied to it. Any investigation of the past needs to done from the standpoint of a curious and accepting witness. Experiencing an event from the standpoint of a bystander can diffuse the emotions, lessen their occurrence, and heal the past, while re-experiencing an event as the victim makes it more real and keeps the emotions intact. Past-life experiences need to be worked with in the same way. If they can’t be experienced as a bystander who is able to bring compassion, acceptance, and understanding to the situation, then they shouldn’t be returned to at all.
Exercise: Clearing Negative Thoughts
Our deepest conditioning tends to come up the most. Whatever negative thoughts you think the most point to your deepest complexes, which are likely to need some investigation and healing. Make a list of the thoughts that most plague you and leave you feeling unhappy about yourself. Those are the ones that especially need healing.
These negative thoughts also need ignoring. The more you are able to just let negative thoughts come and go without reacting to them emotionally (identifying with them), the weaker they will become, until there is little emotion left to them. Thoughts that are just thoughts and have no emotion attached to them are easy to ignore with a little commitment to doing that.
It isn’t necessary to analyze or go to battle with your negative thoughts. This is the mind’s way of dealing with negative thoughts. The mind can be used to unravel the mind through investigation, but it isn’t useful to argue with a negative thought or over-analyze it from the level of the mind. This brings you into greater involvement with the mind, not less involvement. The reason to do this work is to lessen your involvement with the mind, not increase it. Going to battle with conditioning ensures that it will remain strong: “What you resist persists,” as the saying goes.
The antidote to conditioning is acceptance, but the mind isn’t what can give this acceptance. Acceptance happens when you drop into essence (your true self) and notice your negative thoughts. From this place, negative thoughts are not a problem because you see that they have nothing to do with you—the real you. When you don’t identify with your negative thoughts, they have no power to stir up feelings or motivate your behavior. It’s as if they belonged to someone else. If someone else were having these thoughts, would they be a problem for you? Of course not. That’s how it is when you are identified with essence. You have compassion for the suffering such thoughts cause, but they don’t cause you to suffer.
However, if you are having difficulty ignoring or being detached from a thought, then try putting your attention on something truer:
Exercise: Directing Your Attention to the Now and Away from Negativity
When it seems difficult to ignore a thought, then don’t try. Instead, turn your attention onto something beautiful or onto a sound or a sensation—onto the experience of the moment. Become very present to what is arising now in this moment, and thoughts automatically drop into the background (unless you start thinking about what you are experiencing).
Thoughts take you out of the present moment into another time—into the past or the future. What about now? What’s happening now? Check it out. Experience what is happening right now. You may be surprised. Something delightful is always happening in the now. Find it and experience it.
The mind leads you to believe that you have a problem and life is troublesome and difficult. That’s the mind’s take on life in nearly every moment. The truth is much better than that—much brighter. For those who can see from essence’s eyes, there is much beauty available in every moment. Turn your attention to that, and watch your thoughts disappear into the nothingness from which they came.
Copyright © 2007 Gina Lake. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from Getting Free: How to Move Beyond Conditioning and Be Happy by Gina Lake.
Gina Lake has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in their spiritual growth as an astrologer and a channel. She is the author of several books on spirituality, including: Radical Happiness, Anatomy of Desire, Return to Essence, Choosing Love, Getting Free, and Living Your Destiny. Gina is available for astrological and channeled phone consultations that support awakening and living a conscious life. For more information or to order any of these books, to read excerpts, or to download Radiance: Experiencing Divine Presence for free, please visit radicalhappiness.com.