The small man
Builds cages for
While the sage,
Who has to duck
When the moon is
Keys all night long
Hafiz, Dropping Keys
Our thoughts are the key to a happy life. What we think becomes what we believe. What we believe becomes what we expect. What we expect becomes our reality. We create our reality.
Scientists believe we have between 60 and 80 thousand thoughts a day. Most of these thoughts occur in our subconscious so we are never aware of them. Joe Dispenza says we repeat about 90 to 95% of our thoughts every day. Our thoughts often have feelings and memories of prior experiences attached.
We all have negative thoughts, feelings and experiences. These thoughts, feelings and experiences frequently repeated become our core beliefs. These core beliefs are the filter through which we see the world. These thoughts, feelings, and experiences are the computer program through which we see events when something similar happens to us.
Finally, those core beliefs and our negative thoughts, feelings and experiences are often heard through our internal voice. I call my internal voice my internal critic. You know the one. It’s the voice that says, “Wow, your hair looks bad today.” My internal critic came to believe early in my life that I was not enough. This is a core belief I work on daily to identify and replace it with a positive belief.
There is no need to continue to live negative patterns or beliefs that cause suffering because there are many tools available today to help retrain the brain. Science has taught us that we can retrain the brain (neuroplasticity).
What does it take to retrain the brain? It takes the same thing it takes to learn a new skill. Think of retraining the brain to adopt positive core beliefs as learning a new language. We learn to think in positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts. This requires daily practice.
What do we practice? Each person can choose a method that works for them. It’s like finding that it’s easier to learn Spanish through one method over the other. Let me review some examples of methods for changing our thoughts that have and are standing the test of time.
Louise Hay, a pioneer in the self-help arena, advocated positive affirmations and developed mirror work. In mirror work we say positive affirmations while looking at ourselves in a mirror. It’s simple but an effective tool to practice daily.
Iyanla Vanzant talks about positive prayer. In positive prayer rather then praying to ask for what you want, you are thankful to God about the things you want, but you talk about it with positive feelings in gratitude as though you have already received what you are asking for.
Byron Katie in The Work has you use a Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet or a One-Belief-At-A-Time Worksheet to question specific thoughts or beliefs. The thoughts you question are ones that cause you suffering or sadness.
There are more tools that may be used to question and change negative thoughts, core beliefs, internal chatter or self-talk.
Remember life is simple but not easy. None of these tools change your life if you sit in your room and say God bring me a million dollars and then I will be happy. Life is not like that. Training your brain is a skill that then becomes a way you live and experience your life. Our Higher Power helps us, but he/she is not going to do all the work. It is up to us to work to make our lives better.
In this blog I’m just scratching the surface of a big, important topic about how we end suffering in our lives. It’s a journey. It’s our life journey. If I can make your journey easier, or more accurately, help you make your life easier, please contact me.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be the Sage who has to duck my head when the moon is low dropping keys to help me open my prison doors. Changing negative thought patterns and core beliefs are the keys to opening a door to a happier life.