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been my greatest nemesis my entire life long. Not all thoughts, just
those that make me feel miserable, those with which I would torment myself
for long periods of time. Often they'd result from my own
actions--I'd do something or say something I regretted, and I would spend
hours or days feeling miserable as my mind went over all the possible
negative repercussions for doing what I had done.
example, that I said something that offended someone else, and that person
let me know that he or she was offended. In my mind, that person was
extremely angry with me, and wouldn't want to have anything to do with me
any more. Furthermore, my thoughts would take me to other scenarios
that were even worse--that person would tell others what a jerk I was for
having said something, and other people would look at me more judgmentally
and wouldn't want to be around me anymore.
Or say a friend
called to cancel something we had planned to do. In my mind, it
wasn't just a cancellation; it was a reflection of what that person felt
about me. He or she had heard something about me and didn't want to
be around me any more, or they had originally agreed to do something with
me just to make me feel good, so as not to insult me or hurt me. But
when it came time to doing something with me, they really didn't want to
go through with it. There were other, more interesting people around
to do things with.
Or say a friend
didn't show up at all--that was the worst, for then I'd have plenty of
ammunition with which to make myself miserable. I'd start going
through all of the possible negative explanations in my mind, always
looking at the action as a reflection on me, not on the friend. Any
harsh word from a friend or family member led me to think that things were
over between me and that person, that that person wanted to have nothing
to do with me any more. Even now, there are times when my wife says
something to me and I start to think that she's fed up with me and doesn't
want to have anything to do with me any more.
These are, of
course, ridiculous thoughts, and I'd even recognize that while I was
having them. I've found the origin, I believe--they come from a
mixture of having an alcoholic father and moving around constantly.
With an alcoholic parent, love always seems to be conditional, if there at
all, and the children often feel they have to prove themselves.
Mistakes are often treated much more harshly than the situation
demands. Being in a military family, I changed schools eight times
in twelve years, and I never had a chance to develop any sort of long-term
friendships, so I never experienced any sort of behavior involved in such
a relationship--never saw the forgiveness or the tolerance or the
getting-back-together. To me, everything always just ended, and I've
carried the fear of that with me my whole life long. I also grew up
without any sort of church, any sort of faith-fostering, and I never had
the chance to experience or witness the strength that a deep faith can
the source doesn't make one feel better when one's beating oneself up over
something that truly doesn't deserve as much attention as it's
getting. Sometimes I can't believe all of the hypothetical
situations I dreamed up to make myself feel horrible, when the very nest
day things were fine, and I had just lost an entire day or evening to
feeling miserable. I feel fortunate that I've broken the pattern,
even if it does return now and then. When those thoughts return now,
I can usually deal with them rather quickly, and there's little chance
that they can trigger depression as they used to.
The fears I grew
up with are still in there, but I choose to view them as what they
are: negative thoughts that mean nothing. I don't fool myself
into thinking that they can't come back just as or even more strongly, and
I pay attention to them, just in case. But now I know them, and I
can recognize them sooner. I'll never be a person who can function
well in a crowd of complete strangers, but that's who I am. At least
now, I know that I can't function well in such a group because that's who
I am, part of my nature; I no longer fear the people because they probably
won't like me or because they'll judge me harshly. I want to get the
most out of life, and allowing such thoughts to control how I feel will
make me miserable, not happy. I know this from experience.
I am an old man
and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them have never
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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great misfortune is that we have no organ,
no kind of eyelid or brake, to
mask or block a
or all thought, when we want to.
and worry are the enemies of clear thought.
The glow of
one warm thought is, to me, worth more than money.
of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. . .
take care that
you entertain no notions unsuitable
to virtue and reasonable nature.
is its own place, and in
itself can make a heaven of hell,
a hell of
is a mirror and will reflect
back to the thinker what
he or she thinks into it.
are what they think about all day long.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
indicates wrong thinking,
just as ill health indicates a bad regimen.
greatest discovery of my generation is that people can alter
by altering their attitude of mind.
Juan assured me that in order to accomplish the feat of making
I had to work in the most intense fashion, and that
absurd. I had now realized
I could work just the same in making
myself complete and strong. "The trick is in
he said. "We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make
ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
your thoughts away from your troubles--by the ear, by the heels,
other way you can manage it. It's the healthiest thing a body can
The biggest quality in
successful people I think is an impatience with negative thinking. . . .
How many opportunities come along? If you wait for the right one,
because it may never be right, and what have you got to
lose? Even if it's a disaster,
you've tried, you've learned
something, you've had an adventure.
And that doesn't mean you can't
do it again.
you are offended or annoyed by others, do not allow your thoughts to dwell
or on anything relating to them. For
example, don't think that they ought not
to have treated you so, being who they are, or whom they think themselves
or the like. All this is fuel
and kindling of wrath, anger, and hatred.
erases unpleasant thoughts more effectively
than conscious concentration on pleasant ones.
sea reflects the sun perfectly if the water is still. But if
it is agitated
by the wind the light fragments into a million
mirrored suns. It is like this
with the mind. If the
mind is disturbed by thoughts, the Light of Oneness
and we perceive only the manyness of things. When thoughts
are still, however, the One Light is perfectly reflected in the
There is no physician like cheerful thought for
dissipating the ills of the body;
there is no comforter to compare with good will for dispersing the shadows
of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism,
and envy, is to be confined in a self-made prison hole.
But to think well of all,
to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all—such
thoughts are the very portals of happiness; and to dwell day by day in
of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their
I think of my past, I try to dwell on the good times, the happy moments,
and not to be haunted by the bad. . .
To me the gift of life is contained
in the command, whatever happens: “Don’t
let it get you. Just keep on
Thus, I try to think of the good that I have already experienced
and what will still be coming.
spending time alone with one’s own thoughts
creates anxiety for many people and accounts for much escapist
Learn to listen to your own thoughts.
This will help you
learn more about your inner self and your real goals.
time alone each day familiarizing yourself with your thoughts.
do this while walking outdoors or relaxing at home, in a church,
synagogue, or mosque, or even in the public library.
will provide you with an opportunity to clarify and become
comfortable with your feelings and thoughts and to assess
the strategies for reaching your objectives.
To be healthy, wealthy, happy and successful in
any and all areas
of your life you need to be aware that you need to think healthy,
wealthy, happy and successful thoughts twenty-four hours a day
and cancel all negative, destructive, fearful and unhappy thoughts.
These two types of thought cannot coexist if you want to share
in the abundance that surrounds us all.
well-kept garden filled with flowers
Has no room left for weeds to share;
The mind keeps out unworthy thoughts
When loveliness is dwelling there.
your hurts you have cured
And the sharpest you've even survived,
But what torments of grief you've endured
From evils which never arrived.
No sin is committed
merely because a thought enters the mind,
provided it is not made welcome. Perhaps we may use the figure
that the thought first passes into an anteroom, where it stands
before the mind acting as a judge. No matter how sordid or evil,
it has not touched the personality with its infamy nor in any way
laid guilt upon the soul unless and until the mind acting as judge
admits it with a welcome. If the mind decides against it and
dismisses it, the personality is not only unsullied but is, on the
by this act of rejection stimulated and strengthened in moral power.
about ourselves or negative thoughts about
our future can cause depression. Beware of thoughts that
revolve around the words "never" or "always."
Imagine your mind as a garden and
thoughts as the seeds you plant. Habitual negative,
unhealthy, self-critical thoughts produce the weeds and thistles of
and anxiety in the garden of your mind. Luckily, the opposite is
Consistently planting positive, healthy, constructive thoughts will yield
of beautiful feelings, such as gratitude, love, and joy.
Keep your thoughts right--for as you
think, so are you.
Thoughts are things; therefore, think only the things that
will make the world better and you unashamed.
Henry H. Buckley
that we are is the result of what we have thought;
it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our
thoughts. If one speaks or acts with an evil thought,
suffering follows him or her as a wheel follows the
hoof of the beast that draws the cart.
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Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts.
sad fact is that we're not educated to be aware and therefore able to
question the reality created by our thinking. We don't realize that
take responsibility for our thoughts to find out if they are really true,
set aside or at least acknowledge those that are simply opinion and
don't recognize that most thoughts are ultimately judgments, and that the
of any judgment is how that judgment makes us feel.
not healthy to be thinking all the time. Thinking is intended
for acquiring knowledge or applying it. It is not essential living.
The degree of freedom from unwanted
thoughts and the degree of
concentration on a single thought are the measures
to gauge spiritual
as radio waves are picked up wherever a set is tuned in
to their wavelength, so the thoughts which each of us think each
moment of the day go forth into the world to influence
for good or bad each other human mind.
highest possible stage in moral culture is when we
recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you
are thinking and the things you are doing are right for you. That
is, Have they brought you inner peace? If they have not,
there is something wrong with them--so keep trying.
seeds, sprout and blossom according to their variety, and the
thoughts you cultivate create your experiences of life. Just
as a seed planted in fertile soil produces healthy fruit, your
mind may be lightened or darkened depending on the type of
thoughts planted in it. If apple seeds are planted and
nurtured, you can harvest delicious, juicy apples. If you
plant and nurture thistle seeds, you get prickly thistles.
This analogy also holds true for the mind. Positive thoughts
can produce positive results, whereas negative thoughts can lead
to negative results. Understanding this cause and effect
relationship can help you "think into being" the kind of
life you wish to have.
Worldwide Laws of Life
Each of us is born with
the freedom to choose the thoughts that direct our lives. We
may choose the path we want to walk and what we wish to carry
along the way. With this awareness in mind, would it not be
preferable to choose thoughts that can form positive attitudes and
emphasize our unlimited potential? Negative thoughts and
attitudes weigh us down and make our journey through life more
Thoughts are the pinions of the soul,
And carry far when they're set free.
And if they're good, great good they'll do
And benefit both you and me;
So we should gladly do our share
Of wonderful work and thinking, too;
And spread the thoughts of brotherhood--
Think thoughts that none have cause to rue.
Alonzo Newton Benn
thoughts are so important that it is worth holding on to them
even when they make you miserable? Why are you holding on? You
are in charge of your thoughts and feelings. If you are willing to
search for the reason that you can't let go of disturbing thoughts,
you can learn about yourself and restore your own peace of mind.
Prescriptions for Living
We are what we think. All that we are arises
with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.
I learned that you don't have to be saddled for life with
the mental attitudes
you adopted in early childhood. All of us are free to change our
and as we change our minds, our experiences will also change.
The one thing that carries people
furthest from their spiritual center
is negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are unloving thoughts rooted
in the downward passions of anger, ego, attachment, greed, and lust.
They're false thoughts that are divorced from clear reality. We're
talking about pleasant fantasies and daydreams over which you have
control, but mental scenes and confrontations that are riding on your
back, yapping in your ear. And try as you might, you can't shake
Negative thoughts are also just plain conversations and scenes,
unresolved from the past or anticipated for the future, that keep playing
over and over in your mind. And try as you may, you can't change the
tune. You're a captive audience to this broken record. . . .
As you become more aware of your mind's tendency to rule you
negative thoughts and scenes, don't go into a reaction mode and judge
them. They're merely stuck, downward energy that await resolution.
And please, don't judge yourself. You are where you are.
self-love. Furthermore, this doesn't mean that you identify
thoughts, even thought that's what most people do. What you can do
use your growing awareness to focus your spiritual power and reclaim the
bliss that your lower mind destroys or prevents you from having.