Beware Destroying Your Negative Thoughts….The Backlash

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beyond the field of right/wrong or pro/con

Have you noticed how negative thinking is getting a seriously bad rap sometimes?

Do you notice uncomfortable feelings or thoughts enter you….and have the speedy quick immediate NEXT thought be that you really need to fix this negative thinking thing happening in your own head?

Whew!

I MUST DELETE THESE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS!!

They are terrible, destructive, awful, twisted…..I must switch NOW and start thinking positive ASAP!!

Sometimes, when someone is new to the Work, they say to me…

…but, I don’t want to give attention to those negative voices. I’m eliminating them. I’m working on favorable, feel-good thinking. I don’t want to judge.”

Stop right there.

You might be making a humongous mistake.

Get it, ha ha?!

You’re making a mistake regarding your beliefs?

Pokin’ a little fun at you. As a good friend used to say to me (my former husband) when teasing “just pullin’ your chain, just pullin’ your chain!”

But seriously, let’s take a look at this thing that happens around the thinking process and how it can be damaging, or make you get stuck in a loop of anxious thoughts without ever reducing your stress, and keep you imprisoned in a cycle of unsupportive thinking, like your trapped thoughts going around on a merry-go-round in a child’s playground.

You notice a worried, sad, frightened, irritated or rageful feeling. You have a thought. Maybe a whole cloud of thoughts, an entire system of beliefs.

Almost in the same moment that you’re afraid and you feel against what’s going on in your environment…you feel immediately against what your own mind is doing.

You’re against everything. You’re disturbed. You’re upset. You might be shouting at yourself on the inside.

OMG I can’t have this negative thought! This feeling is TERRIBLE!

You could be yelling at yourself to be more positive, relax, get a grip, pull yourself together.

Kind of like a parent might say to a kid who’s having a melt down, when they’re losing their temper, not feeling compassionate or patient: Come on! Snap out of it! Quit crying! Stop panicking! Quit thinking that way!! 

How do you think you’ll react if someone yells at you to pull yourself together and stop having a hissy fit and stop thinking the way you’re actually thinking?

Happy and supported? Ready to question your painful thinking?

Uh…..not really.

At least, I sure never felt much better. And nothing changed, either.

Kinda like going on a major diet, as a counter-attack to a big gigantic appetite. The end result is….flying off the diet in a huge pendulum swing the other way, a breaking out in to freedom. A binge.

A long time ago, I quit trying to do positive thinking on top of negative thinking. It was an enormous amount of work.

Instead, when I found The Work of Byron Katie….

….but even long before, when I entered support groups and other people and therapists with a deep sense of unconditional love….

….I could let down my guard, expose my most dark and bitter thinking, and discover I could be accepted even with those kinds of troubled thoughts.

What a relief.

What to do next?

Give the negative thoughts time, love and energy. It’s so much easier than being AGAINST them.

The best way to do it?

Write them down, let them out, and take them through self-inquiry.

Simply see if they’re true or not!

Who would you be without the belief that your “negative” thoughts are that big and powerful, and ruining your life (even if they are, ha ha)?

I notice my “negative” thoughts are here. They are a part of reality.

Maybe they have a message. Maybe they aren’t actually even “negative”. I mean, who made me boss of the universe who decides what should or should not be allowed to be thought?

This is a very subtle place of letting go.

Are these thoughts actually YOU? Are you sure they mean you are doing something wrong? That you’re not positive enough?

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” ~ Rumi

To question what you believe to be true, even about thoughts, is to enter an unknown, wide open, infinite space. You don’t have to analyze, control, be against or be for….anything.

The next time you feel a swarm of dread coming….try letting it stay. What does it have to say? What is being expressed? What does it want? Write this down.

Get to know your mind intimately.

Now ask….is it true?

When you get all the way to the turnarounds, you may feel appreciation, an openness to being the way you are, an acceptance to your mind running the way it does.

You may find a new joy about your turnarounds you didn’t expect, because you gave the vicious, mean, frightened thoughts their due respect.

Everything becomes OK. And much less work.

Slower, more relaxed, no need to defend or gather your energies so you can fight against your negative beliefs and quit being judgemental.

“To the extent that the fire of truth wipes out all fixated points of view, it wipes out inner contradictions as well, and we begin to move in a whole different way. The Way is the flow that comes from a place of non-contradiction—not from good and bad. Much less damage tends to be done from that place.” ~ Adyashanti 

See what happens if you relax, wait, inquire.

You might notice you have the same push-pull pro-con relationship with a person in your life, not just your own thoughts. If this is the case, and you want guided help with inquiry….join Relationship Hell To Heaven Teleclass starting March 24 5:15-6:45 pm for 8 weeks. Still a few more spots.fieldofnothing

Love, Grace

4 Responses to Beware Destroying Your Negative Thoughts….The Backlash

  1. You know how many books there are that teach you negative thinking is bad? I think there’s a book called either “Switch” or “Next” that is all about ignoring these thoughts. It’s amazing how meeting them with understanding instead feels so much more peaceful and even nurturing.

  2. Hi Grace. Liked this Gracenote. Insightful. To share where my journey has taken me…
    that wonderful nun, Pema Chodron says, *Negative thoughts are precise, awake, and alive!* It’s not negative thoughts which deter us from making progress with ourselves–it is something Buddhists call NEGATIVE NEGATIVITY….beating ourselves up for having negative thoughts and thereby missing the wisdom and compassion that these thoughts are pointing us toward.

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