March 9

Today's quotation:

If you have any difficulty in banishing unpleasantness
or torturing thoughts, force yourself to read some good,
inspiring book—something that will smooth out your
wrinkles and put you in a happy mood; something that
will make you see the real grandeur and beauty of life;
something that will make you feel ashamed of petty
meanness and narrow, uncharitable thoughts.


Today's Meditation:

What goes in must come out, no?  The surprising thing sometimes is that we have to "force ourselves" to read something positive and uplifting--it's so much easier to turn on the TV and watch some of the violence and crime that's packaged as entertainment, or even to read some crime novel in which some characters murder, maim, or otherwise hurt each other.

Our brains respond very clearly to violence, and it doesn't respond in a very positive way.  It gives us stress and tension, and it creates a corresponding physical response with such symptoms as tightness of muscles, higher blood pressure, or even headaches.

Try saying these words out loud a couple of times:
hate, murder, stab, kill, blood, death.

Do you feel a change in your mood or feelings?  If you were hooked up to a machine that measured your physiological responses, chances are that you'd see a change.

Even though most of us have desensitized ourselves to murder and violence (a frightening thought, isn't it?) by watching so much of it in films and on TV, our brains and bodies still react, even if not on such a strong level as they used to.

But how do our brains and bodies react when we give them the treat of uplifting words and images?  Try saying the following words aloud a few times:
love, peace, hope, compassion, friendship, giving.

Do you feel a difference?  How do we feel overall when we give ourselves a lot of positive, life-affirming messages?  There are plenty of books and movies out there that can make us feel better about life, other people, and ourselves--so why don't we lift ourselves up with them more often?

Questions to consider:

What goes into you?  Do you fill your mind with violence or with peace and hope?

Why are so many of our programs and popular books based on violence and the bad things that people do to each other?

Is there a short time you can set aside each day to fill your mind with at least a few positive words or images?

For further thought:

Read materials that are generally uplifting and affirming, and read biographies of successful people.  You will find that many of them had troubles in life, came from tough situations and still succeeded.  If you have ever thought, “Well, if they can do it, I could too,” then you realize that we can build our confidence by reading about others' stories.  Reading and listening to positive materials is about reinforcement, encouragement, and learning.  All three of these components are needed for greater confidence.

Kevin Eikenberry


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