Chapter 4 How to deal with a Difficult Situation, by Not Obsessing Over It, Because Thoughts Expand and Grow With More Investment in Thought: Energy Bubble

As a difficult situation arises, do not obsess over it like the vast majority of people do.  Don’t give it any attention.  Attention is energy.  Your attention you place onto any situation, which starts as an initial thought, gets more energy and grows as long as you obsess over it.  It is like feeding a fire with gasoline.  Or rolling a snowball down a hill.  Your thoughts expand through your mind the more you heed them.  It will just burn hotter and hotter.  That is easier said than done right?  One well known psychology study showed that when a subject was asked not to think of a pink elephant, the only thing he/she thought of was that pink elephant.  It will take time, but you should grow to control your thoughts. 

 

When the negative thoughts do cross your mind, you have a choice, either ignore them if you can, or divert them, or gloss them over, or surrender to them.  The point is just never get stuck in them.

 

Interrupt your brain from negative patterns of thinking immediately as they arise.  We will discuss strategies about this as we go along.  You should have a list of “weapons” for catching your mind from snowballing.  Bad thoughts are like expanding darkness.  You cannot destroy darkness except with light.  The more you think about darkness, the darker a situation will get.  You cannot overcome dark thoughts and unhappy memories by talking through them.  But if you try to shine light onto the darkness, the dark thoughts will disappear, and the light will come from conscious living and a healthy consciousness…and right thinking. 

 

For example, say you are remember a painful moment in your past, like a classic example of being fired from your job and having the entire office glare at you as you packed up your box with embarrassment, shame, and then left.  When negative thoughts like this arise, shift the memory to a pleasant one where you did something great for someone at another one of your jobs, and your boss there commended you and praised you.  Or put on an old song which reminds you of when you kissed your first girlfriend.  Go and watch the sunset.  Anything but just sinking down and reliving the painful past moment, which is gone, and which you cannot change, and which nobody is thinking about anyways except for you.

 

So if a depressing memory does arise, it won’t work if someone just tells you “Don’t think about it!  Just forget it!”  You may only obsess about it more, and all the downsides of what happened to you.  You may ruminate on how you can get back at your boss or co-workers, which is an even darker (and dangerous) thought.  Think back on all those workplace shootings in the news.  All of them started with a negative thought!  That negative thought propelled itself to a negative emotion, which then continued to expand until it became an actual action. 

 

But if you bring positive awareness to your painful memory, that it was a learning experience, and that another door must open (a closed door always leads to an open door), a gleaming consciousness to the situation will arise, then the clouds will lift away, and the darkness will be replaced by light. 

 

Two of the ways I personally use is through prayer and meditation about any  negative thoughts that arise.  There are so many things you can do when you feel a negative mood swing coming or an uncomfortable memory arising.  The main thing is to do SOMETHING.  When a negative thought enters your mind, it is like walking into quicksand or a mud bog.  You had better do something quickly before you are overcome!

 

  When you go deep and deeper into prayer and meditation as one possible and effective solution, there will come a point when the problems just stop because you are no longer giving the negative thoughts any energy.  Your mind is still, and not focusing on negative or depressing thoughts.  You go on looking for it, but it is not there anymore at all.  Your consciousness is just so aware and you gain an impartial stance that the problems cannot surface anymore.  Your grave worries and problems are just like static when you turn on and off the television. 

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About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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