One of the most important themes I’ve come across in any “spiritual” experience or consciousness breakthrough I’ve had is the importance of keeping your mind “clean” and pure. I’m going to sound like a lot of things here (hippie, self-development junkie, however you see it) but there truly is nothing more important on this earth than openness, humility, positivity and how well you can love yourself and others. This is not something I believe in or took on to understand, it’s something that has been revealed to me sometimes at shocking speeds through experiences — such as in meditation where your mind state is delicate and can easily take you out of higher consciousness states if you approach it in a way that is imbalanced in one way or another.
Most people do not realize the extent of how detrimental negative thoughts can be. They affect much more than we realize. I’ll liken it to this analogy (which is actually more relevant than one might think): someone who is used to eating crappy food for years over time forgets how good their body and mind can feel when their diet is clean. The bar is lowered and they don’t realize it. They actually forget what it’s like to feel really good, and truly nourished.
Negative, judgmental or closed-minded thoughts are a very heavy energy, while positive, open and humble thoughts are light and expansive. The heavy energy of negative thoughts not only can shape your entire life and bring negative consequences, it also just generally weighs you and your awareness down — just like a crappy diet would.
But oftentimes it can be very difficult for us to sense this, unless we are operating from a higher state of awareness, which would bring us much more clarity and automatically less tolerant to things such as negativity or greasy cheeseburgers (this is another benefit of continual meditation).
I would go as far as to say that making it a point to cleanse and control your thoughts — which is a daily practice — is the most important thing you can do, since the state of our lives, and death, starts from within. This is the practice of mindfulness and like with most disciplines, it’s difficult to be consistent.
My negative thoughts still come, especially when I’m in traffic (those dang drivers!), but what’s interesting is my natural evolution in awareness is what gave me a bit of a boost in looking back at my own mind at the negative thoughts collectively and realizing “whoa…these are not doing good for me.”
Aside from that it’s just self-discipline. When a negative thought arises, look at it, embrace it, then let it go.
“Mind precedes all knowables,
mind’s their chief, mind-made are they.
If with a corrupted mind
one should either speak or act
dukkha [suffering] follows caused by that,
as does the wheel the ox’s hoof.”
Excellent post. I totally agree about the effect of negative thoughts. I think even more important is being aware of our thoughts. What am I feeling right now, and why? Am I sad; am I anxious, what’s causing that? Often if we stop and take stock, we discover we’re brooding unnecessarily about worrisome things which can be replaced by more positive thoughts. Next time you’re find yourself chewing your lip and gripping the steering wheel too tight, stop and consider what’s going through your mind.