Shifting Thoughts

Art: “Infinity” by Carmelina Mosher

It has been estimated that the average human being has around 50,000 thoughts per day.  That’s a lot of thoughts.  Some of those thoughts are going to be positive and productive.  However, many of them are also going to be negative—angry, fearful, pesimistic, worrisome.  Indeed, the important question in terms of becoming more peaceful isn’t whether or not you’re going to have negative thoughts—you are—it’s what you choose to do with the ones that you have. ~Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

I am as every human being in this world:  perfectly imperfect.  As such, even employing meditation in my daily life, negative thoughts still occur.  What I have learned is that I have a choice as to the thoughts I latch onto and the ones I will release.  I certainly have the capacity to over-analyze them endlessly, wasting a lot of energy, becoming non-productive; or I can acknowledge them and  release them.  How?  Meditation and yoga are definitely wonderful tools I have found helpful.

When looking at what a “thought” is when the mind is neutral, at ease, calm, it’s quite ironic that something so non-substance can cause so much havoc and chaos in our lives.  I have read many things from wise, insightful people that remind me thoughts cannot hurt me.  A thought has no factual substance, no form.  It’s inanimate.  However, from my experience, if I chain myself to a negative thought, quickly it can snowball into something so chaotic that the stress from same causes harm to the physical body.  It’s not the thought that harms me directly, it’s MY CHOICE to latch onto the negativity that causes turmoil in my life and physical illness.

Having said that, every human being has a life story.  Not all life stories are pleasant and hunky-dory. And the memories of such are the same.   The past is gone; it doesn’t exist.  Tomorrow has not arrived, it doesn’t exist.  So what it comes down to is the CHOICE I make this very moment.  Am I going to be present in this moment, being aware of all that around me, above me, below me, beside me, or am I going to spend the precious moment jumping on the negative train of thought where it is easy to get on and difficult to get off; continuous cycles of over-examining something inanimate – consisting of the what-if’s, how-come’s, why me’s.

When I dismiss negative, unproductive thoughts from my mind, it opens up space for positive ones.  It opens up space for creativity, for focus, for being present (in mind, body and spirit) in the here and now.  Peace quickly replaces the empty space in the mind that chaos once inhabited.

Just as one bathes or showers daily to clean the body to remove dirt and grime; so should the mind be cleaned regularly.  The body is fed three times a day- breakfast, lunch and dinner; so should the mind be nourished.  Just taking a few minutes to meditate (or pray) a few times each day will keep the mind balanced.  It takes practice, but its worth the effort.  The reward is a mind that functions better, clearer thought process; kind of like a well-maintained machine absent clutter and debris.  It’s a matter of making the conscious choice to shift my thoughts via a negative-gear to a positive-gear.

Change your thoughts, and in the twinkling of an eye, all your conditions change. Your world is a world of crystallized ideas, crystallized words. Sooner or later, you reap the fruits of your words and thoughts. ~Florence Scovel Shinn


The beautiful artwork contained in this article is courtesy of Carmelina Mosher, MA, Expressive Arts Therapist Educator ~ Visionary Artist.

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