It’s easy for negative thoughts or negative inferences to take root. They can be as subtle as “I can’t do this” to something extreme we won’t say to others like “You’re (I’m) stupid”, or excessive worry and downplaying ourselves or others.
One outcome of negativity is that it can lead us to a striving mode, needing to fix or improve ourselves. We sign up for a bunch of courses, throw ourselves into projects to shut off the pain, make ourselves feel like we’re progressing in life. A striving mode can also mean to deliberately avoid situations.
This is not to say we don’t do anything to improve our life outcomes or to purposely invite difficulties, but we want to be more discerning about what thoughts we want to act on and what actions are really necessary, lest we end up distressing ourselves further or shy away from living a full life.
In this meditation, we acknowledge thoughts as they are (just thoughts), and practice restoring a sense of being or balance. When we’re in a less driven-doing, judgmental mode, we can see our priorities and what really matters with more clarity.
We also use the poem Negative Thoughts (extract) by Murray Lachlan Young to convey the theme of the practice.
Oh, they come and they go
And sometimes they come
A lot more than they go
Then do what they like
And say what they please
To stifle your life
With their negative squeeze
So why not breathe in
And exercise choice
Why not breathe out and say “No” to the voice
And say “I’m worth more much, much, more than all that
And that negative voices
Are uncool and old hat”
So why not decide
That it’s time to get free
And stand up to the (deeply uncool) voice
Guide: Noelle Lim
Duration: 14 mins
Image credit: Dim Hou, Unsplash
To register and join our Wednesday Pause meditation, please go here
To view the complete archive of our meditations, go here