Is your head full of fears, worries, anxiety and negativity. You can use meditation to stop negative thoughts. It takes a little while to develop the habit of meditation, but once you’ve built the habit, the benefits in health and happiness will flow all through every aspect of your life.
And the final thought to preoccupy me was about a wealthy aquaintance who was devastated about tearing her meniscus (cartilage of the knee) just before her trip to their second house in Vail, and what the hell was she going to DO all week while her family skied? Sit around with the staff?
Then, this looped to my finishing thought. It was about Adeline, an 8-year-old girl in Rwanda that we are sponsoring, who doesn’t go to school, sleeps on the ground, has never owned a pair of shoes and who writes letters to my daughter — joyfully, mind you — about how fun it is to finally be old enough to walk the five miles everyday to carry water for her widowed mother and family of five. I went home and I spent 30 minutes sitting quietly with my eyes closed, with my dog asleep at my side, and I tried to quiet my mind.
It was the longest 30 minutes of my week. But it worked. And even though I’m a Christian, I’m an Oprah kind of Christian, meaning that I think there’s room for lots of different interpretations of how God shows up. One definition that I think of often is the “The Four Noble Truths” of Buddhism. They are simple:
The Four Noble Truths
1. That there is suffering in the world.
2. That we suffer because we are attached to our STUFF, our desires, whether it’s desire for sitting in a warmer room, desire for weighing a lower number on the scale or desire for someone that’s not here anymore.
3. All of these attachments make us suffer. By detaching from these desires you can eliminate suffering.
4. The path to stopping the suffering is meditation.
So the idea is that your life can be perfect, and you can still be miserable. (Hello, Greenwich.)
Or that life can suck and you can still be content. (Hello, Adeline.) So when you find your thoughts chasing you around, try to take five minutes to meditate. It’s easier after exercise or some vigorous activity, but some also find it best first thing in the morning, when your mind is quiet and not yet begun the planning and calculating for the day. Or better yet, try it right before bed, when your mind is ready to punch out on it’s timeclock of coulds, woulds and shoulds of the day. It’s hard, but we CAN refuse to think certain thoughts.
Look how often you refuse to think a positive thought about yourself.
You can also refuse to think a negative thought. It just takes practice. And beginning right where you are is a start.
Ok…. are you ready for some really fast, simple and effective things to do?
Here’s just a few of my –
Meditation To Stop Negative Thoughts
3 Mindful Breaths
The next time you find your mind racing, or worrying about things, or you feel a little anxious, STOP and take 3 deep breaths, paying total attention to the feelings… the exact physical sensations of the breath entering your nose and travelling back into your head and down to your lungs.
A Quick Mindful Walk
Create brief mindfulness walk breaks. Even if you are only taking a few dozen steps to to to the washroom…. walk just a tiny bit slower than ususal, and pay attention with all your mind to your surroundings … as if you had never seen them before. Just totally immerse yourself in your environment and see with new fresh eyes, hear with new fresh ears… each time you want to the washroom, or to have lunch, or walking to your car before and after work.
You have dozens of opportunities to be mindful when you walk.
Use A Focus Word
For as long as we humans have had language, we have used words, mantras, focus words and phrases to change our state of mind, feel better, and take control of a wandering, worrying, distracted mind.
Here’s a super-fast, super-simple way to do this.
Regularly, through your day, decide to take charge of your mind for a few moments….
When you inhale…. silently “say” to yourself in your mind your focus word.
When you exhale, breath out completely, and let everything go…
Do this for 3 or 5 or 20 breaths…. whatever you have time for.
Do this for 1 or 3 or 5 minutes, if you prefer clocks and timers.
You can do this as a purely secular and psychological practice,
or infuse it with a spiritual overlay if you wish, just by choosing different focus words.
Secular, General Focus Words
- Letting Go
- Oh Well….
- Let It Be
Christian Focus Words
- Come Lord
- Lord Have Mercy
- Our Father
- The Lord Is My Shepard
- Hail Mary
- Jesus have mercy on me
This is a first step to the well known Christian practice also called The Centering Prayer
Jewish Focus Words
- Sh’ma Yisroel (Hear O Israel)
- Echod (One)
- Shalom (Peace)
- Hashem (The Name)
Eastern Focus Words
- Om (the universal sound)
- Shantih (Peace)
- Sat Nam (Call to Truth_
- Sooo Hum (I am Thou)
Aramaic Focus Words
- Abba (Father)
- Marantha (Come, Lord)
Islamic Focus Words
- HU (primordial sound, the same as OM)
Universal Spiritual Focus Word
The “AH” sound is considered by many a sacred seed syllable—a sacred mantra in many Eastern traditions including Tibetan Buddhism. It is also a vowel sound—a divinely inspired sound that is considered sacred in many different traditions including Hebrew Kabbalah, Islam, Christianity, Native American spirituality, and almost every spiritual tradition I am familiar with.
The “AH” sound is found in most of the God and Goddess names on the planet (Tara, Buddha, Krishna, Yah, Yeheshua, Saraswati, Wakantanka, Quan Yin, etc.), as well as many of the sacred words (Amen, Alleluia, Aum). As a seed syllable, the “AH” is universal and may be utilized differently in different traditions, depending upon its purpose.
In the Tibetan tradition, the “AH” is as a sacred mantra. In Western mystical traditions, it is a vowel sound
Most mystical traditions worldwide that work with the vowels sounds in relationship to the chakras find that the “AH” sound the sound of the heart chakra. This chakra, which is located in the center of the chest is the energy center associated with love and compassion. Indeed, when many people think about the energy of love, they express it as an “AH” sound. Many spiritual masters believe that the activation of this chakra is most helpful for achieving higher consciousness and enlightenment. Most agree that the energy of love and the heart is the primary, essential energy of the universe.
Don’t make this complicated.
Choose a focus word, and use it during brief times of the day.
You’re a busy person!
– Peace –
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