There are times in our day-to-day life when we experience ourselves acting or thinking in ways we wish could be different. Sometimes, it can seem like our thoughts are running on auto-pilot, and whoever is doing the driving is not the most qualified person for the job. These thoughts then lead to actions which we regret later. The reason for this is that we often have un-conscious mental and emotional programs running our lives. Maybe these programs are fine for going about our daily interactions with the world, but what happens when they are no longer helping us to live our lives to the fullest?
The First Step: Uncovering That Which is Hidden
Since they are subconscious, these programs do a good job of staying hidden. Consciousness is not something which can be seen or touched, so it can be difficult to pinpoint disharmonious patterns within it. What are the signs that a subconscious mental program is affecting us? Fortunately, these programs leave traces that they are indeed there. These traces come in the form of negative thoughts, or that nagging little voice in the head. Knowing this, we can follow the breadcrumbs of thought to the root of what is running them.
Thoughts can be likened to bubbles in a lake. We can observe the bubbles on the surface, but where they come from is deep down at the bottom. Likewise, thoughts appear at the surface of our mind, but where they come from is deep down, in the realm of emotions. Thoughts are the surface signs of emotions.
We can begin by examining the inner voice we hear in our head, as well as the outer voice coming out of our mouths, and just observe them.
It can quickly be seen that thoughts occur all on their own, spontaneously, like a radio station continually broadcasting into space. If we tune into the mental stream, they become the central focal point; however, try shifting the dial of focus to the space in which these thoughts are occurring. As you do this, you will discover that the thoughts become blended into the background of awareness.
Now, from this space outside of thought, try observing the content of the mind, just don’t get pulled into it. What do you hear? What is the common theme around which the mental chatter is arranged? Is the voice angry? afraid? guilty? Take this chance to be radically honest with yourself – this is not a time to be squeamish!
Step Two: Removing Identification With the Mind
Understand that these thoughts are not even yours, so you do not need to identify with them. Just like a radio tower, the mind is continually broadcasting thoughts. It is what the mind does, continuously and automatically.
To prove that the mind is not even yours, try this: tell the mind to stop thinking and see what happens. The mind will probably just go right on thinking, against your will. If the mind was really yours, you could tell it what to do and it would listen, right? On the contrary, the mind is an impersonal aspect of our human nature.
Bringing humility into our understanding of this is very helpful. It can be very frustrating when one first comes to meditation and realizes how strong the monkey-mind chatter is, but remember: there is nothing wrong with it. It is only doing what it knows how to do. Just because you have negative thoughts does not make you a bad person. You are not your thoughts! This is part of the collective (un)consciousness of humankind. Everyone else has these same kinds of thoughts too; they truly are impersonal.
Step Three: Surrendering the Temporary Emotional ‘Payoff’
Dis-identifying with the mind makes it easier to go further inward to the source of thinking itself: emotions. Subconscious programs are fueled by our emotions, so addressing them from the emotional level is the key to canceling them.
The reason that these dysfunctional programs are running in our consciousness, despite our desire to be free of them, is because they offer us a hidden payoff. They create the illusion that we are getting something beneficial from them, a ‘juice’ if you will. This may not be apparent at first, as one might think, “How is there a payoff from being angry?”
The ‘juicy payoff’ is the emotional reaction; the feeling that moves through us. There is a part of us that finds a temporary pleasure, or satisfaction, in the feeling of anger, guilt, pride, etc. The part of us which feeds off of this juice is commonly called the ego.
The ego easily becomes addicted to the emotional payoff of negative emotions, and in turn feeds off of the juice. Since the juice is only a temporary satisfaction, the ego must seek more of it, thus perpetuating an endless feedback loop. With each infusion of ‘juice’ into the loop, the addiction becomes stronger and thus harder to break free of.
With this realization, it becomes clear that in order to undo negative programming, we must let go of the temporary payoff gained from negative thoughts and emotions. When this payoff is continually let go of, the unconscious program loses its power and influence. The juice becomes less and less interesting to us.
The next time a negative thought or emotion arises, ask yourself, “What is the juice I’m getting from this?” and “Is it worth the price?” If the juice is found to make you feel anything other than peace and tranquility, it is a sign that it needs to be let go of.
In this light, there is no need to fight or suppress anything, even fear and hatred itself. In fact, we can begin to let these emotions just be as they are and run themselves out. We no longer need to be afraid of emotions because we are no longer controlled by the temporary ‘pleasure’ of them.
With this practice of continually surrendering the juicy payoff of the negative emotions, a peaceful state naturally emerges. Peace is what prevails when all of our negative programs have been let go of. In this sense, it can be seen that Peace is actually a choice. When we choose Peace instead of the juice of the ego, our emotional dependence on negativity diminishes. When done continually, this Peace stabilizes and becomes our natural state, undisturbed by the passing temptations of negativity.
About the Author
Ryan Brown is a meditation teacher, energetic healer and writer. He has studied shamanic traditions of the Amazonian Basin and strives to integrate the ancient wisdom teachings of both the East and West in a way that is applicable to modern living. You can learn more about his pursuits at www.wayruna.org
Credits: WakingTimes, where this was originally featured.
Mental Re-Programming With Trypnaural
This is a sample of the full 30 minute guided meditation featuring mindfulness techniques to help you re-program your mind to access your higher power from deep within.
What Is Guided Imagery Meditation?
In this modern age we are facing serious sensory overload. From an early age things like entertainment and information are a simple click away. Information positive and negative in the form of T.V, movies, games, the internet, mobiles and all sorts of other wonderful technology has the potential to overstimulate our senses. It can make us less intimate with people close to us and even decrease the amount of physical activity we do.
Being so tuned into external stimuli often tunes us out and moves us away from connecting to ourselves and to each other.
We are always striving for a more balanced life. Juggling chores and several jobs at the same time is more and more common place. The world has become a more demanding and complex place. On top of this we are continuously exposed to negative news stories, images in magazines that are designed to make us feel insecure. That dreaded stress is just round the corner waiting to creep its way into your daily life. It is no wonder that 1/3 of Americans are on some form of medication, including children.
All this distraction and noise can lead you to lose your ability to identify with feelings of stress and anxiety. You may find it difficult to connect your stomach aches, headaches, restlessness or irratibility as symptoms of stress and anxiety. Since feelings can become confusing and overwhelming becoming more mindful of your feelings will help you to navigate through difficult times.
Mindfulness techniques can help you to develop self-awareness and mastery over your feelings. A natural and scientifically proven method to introduce this is through guided imagery.
Benefits of guided imagery
Guided imagery is a meditative process that uses visualization and imagination to bring awareness to the mind-body connection.
In a relaxed state of mind you can more easily access the power of this healing process because you become naturally more imaginative.
When used with special trance music that get you into deep relaxed states this power is magnified. Your conscious mind becomes less attentive to outside distraction and you awareness rises.
When this music is laced with a special script of a vivid story you can more easily learn skills that help you to deal with stress, pain or difficult feelings. You tune out of the negative and focus more on the positive.
Guided imagery can help with specific issues like sleep problems and anxiety. It can also increase creativity and boost your immune system.
You can create new neural pathways and even reinforce positive behaviours using guided imagery.
Our brains can’t distinguish between real events and imagined ones.
Imagine yourself in a very difficult time like a heated argument…
Just this feeling alone will release stress hormones in your body. If however you focus on a uplifting experience or love for someone close to you, this will increase the levels of endorphins and serotonin. In turn this will make you more relaxed and positive.
Using guided imagery you can encourage your mind to imagine positive healing experiences.
This can lead to healthier coping habits and new more empowering behaviours.
By focusing your intention on reaching your goals and creating a desired image of your life and yourself, you can rewire your brain to create new pathways that reinforce this behaviour.
This simple technique has been used for many years by trainers and success coaches to build self confidence and improve peak performance.