Shifting Our Dis-empowering Mind Has Never Been So Easy
Negative thoughts can be recognized by certain telltale traits. Specifically, negative thoughts—which we can also call dis empowering thoughts—are connected to selfish desire, hatred, or delusion. Thoughts associated with selfish desire are predicated on our voracious appetite for pleasure. A negative thought of this sort may prompt us to act or speak in a way that provides us with momentary gratification.
Whereas thoughts based on selfish desire draw us toward an act that we believe will give us pleasure, thoughts associated with hatred repel us from people or situations we think will cause us pain or make us feel uncomfortable.
Deluded thoughts are at odds with reality and result from our failure to see ourselves and the world as they really are. On the basis of delusion, we can generate grandiose thoughts about our own importance or our own worthlessness, or we can somehow come to believe that we are immune to the changes to which everyone else is subject. It requires skill, of course, to recognize these dis empowering or negative thoughts, and ultimately, it takes knowing ourselves very well—the kind of self-knowledge that comes only with mental strength honesty and dispassionate observation.
To give you some practice at identifying dis empowering and negative thoughts, try this simple exercise the next time you meditate or sit in the park. Whenever you catch your mind drifting in its usual haphazard way, take a moment to examine the character of the thought that has captured your attention.
The great danger of entertaining any thought that arises from selfish desire, hatred, and delusion is its eventual effects on the shape of our minds. Even the thoughts that remain confined to the interior of our skulls can multiply, generating habits of thought that form our personality and character. The practice of mindfulness offers a variety of very useful ways to assist us in neutralizing negative thoughts and relaxing their toxic effects on the mind. They’re all forms of relinquishment, and they’re all dependent on our ability to recognize a negative thought when it arises.
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