If you are plagued with obsessive thoughts, take heart. You can stop them.
Your mind generates several thousand thoughts every day and it loves to run some of them on an infinite loop like a really bad TV rerun. Obsessive negative thoughts can literally ruin your life but you can learn to transcend them and free yourself from suffering.
Become a Mind Master
You have to become a mind master. But before you go about mastering your mind you have to know what you’re up against. You may think that suppressing obsessive thoughts is enough. That may work for a few moments but it only ends up building up a lot of negative energy – at the slightest provocation, the thoughts are back. With a vengeance! Complete mastery of the mind is needed.
What causes obsessive thoughts?
The mind runs on autopilot most of the time. It draws upon the past to interpret the present and the future – like a computer, it processes the present and the future based on past programming. This is why we often run into roadblocks trying to solve problems using the same thinking that created them in the first place. We try to solve a problem using conditioned thought habits or beliefs. When that doesn’t work, the mind reverts to the infinite loop that drives you crazy with obsessive thoughts.
Ask yourself a question – who generates your thoughts? You, or your mind? In the untrained mind, the mind generates thoughts. If you doubt this, then write down what your mind is going to think during the next 60 seconds. You can’t do it, right? Because you have no idea. Learning to control your mind means that you climb into the driver’s seat and take full control. You start generating the thoughts you want and eliminating the mental chatter that your mind comes up with.
Wait – are you not your mind? No! If you are your mind, you would not be able to observe your thoughts. You would not be able to sit in meditation and become aware of your mind’s chatter. You are not your mind. You are the observer. The one having the experience. Your mind is a tool – but unfortunately for most people, a tool that’s gone rogue.
The mind generates thoughts constantly. Here’s the interesting part – ONLY the thoughts that you find noteworthy have the potential to become obsessive. For example, let’s say you suspect that your spouse has a crush on a hottie at work. In the several thousand thoughts your mind generates that day, that’s the thought that you pick out from the crowd and latch onto. Your interest in the thought is what gives it power. When you start thinking that thought over and over again your mind picks up on your interest so it creates related thoughts. These catch your interest again and you latch on. And all you’re doing is giving them more power. Emotions surface and the whole beast feeds on itself until you’re obsessed (in this example, with the notion that your spouse has a secret crush).
OK. Now that you know what you’re up against, let’s begin mastering the mind. Start with awareness. Sit it meditation and just listen to your mind’s chatter. REFUSE to become interested in any of the thoughts that come up. If you have trouble doing this, say to yourself, “this will pass” and focus on the Omharmonics soundtrack until the thought (and its emotions) has passed.
With a little practice, you will be able to observe your thoughts with detachment, without getting involved or giving them your interest. This will nip the obsession in the bud! If you don’t give them fuel (interest) they will just float on by.
So what do you do when a thought is already established and has become obsessive, like the thought in the example?
The way to deal with an existing obsessive thought is to re-interpret the situation. Let’s say that you are jealous because your spouse works with someone you believe they find attractive and this is the reason you think your spouse may develop a crush. When you re-interpret that thought, you take away its interest and its power. Whenever a thought about this person comes up, switch to thinking positive thoughts about your spouse. Don’t give ANY energy to this imagined scenario!
Yes, this is hard. No question. That’s why a daily meditation practice is essential. You can use meditation in several ways: to calm yourself when you are stressed or anxious; to become aware of your thoughts; and to deliberately imprint alternative thoughts that are more pleasing to you.
What kinds of thoughts cause emotional suffering? Negative thoughts. Since these usually center around things that are important to us – love, money and careers – they tend to be the ones that get picked out from the herd. And just by giving them attention, you give them power!
Choose to give your attention to positive thoughts by generating them and repeating them to yourself as affirmations during meditation. Imprint them on your mind. This is like installing new software in your computer. Mental mastery will give you the tools to:
- become aware of your thoughts
- let the negative ones fizzle out by NOT giving them attention
- imprinting new, desirable thoughts until they become part of your “programming”
If you’re dedicated to this practice, eventually your conditioned negative thoughts will lose their momentum and in their place will be new, automatic default thoughts that are positive, proactive.
Any time your mind generates a positive thought, focus on it and fuel with all the energy you can! Your mind will eventually pick on the fact that you prefer these types of thoughts and it will start generating more of the same. Your life will become happier and more peaceful when you gain mastery of your mind.
Let meditation with Omharmonics become a part of your daily routine. Learn to master your mind, and use it as a tool that you control instead of the other way around!