I don't think it works, nor is it helpful, to talk ourselves out of our feelings! Feelings are never “bad” or “wrong!” They simply report our “vibrational frequency.” Feelings inform us of our present emotional state or “mood.” With that information we can then decide if we need to initiate, what I call, a “frequency adjustment.” This means we follow the feeling in to the originating belief or thought behind it and explore that belief through inquiry. (see Byron Katie's four question/turn around process of inquiry at www.thework.com)
Here's a sample of my use of The Work in dealing with the troubling thought,
“I am a failure because I don't market my business well.”
The first step towards clearing this negative & limiting thought was to recognize what I was believing so that I could question it; “I am a failure, is it true?”
I then wrote down all the evidence that supported that thought. And then I asked myself the following questions and wrote down the answers:
“Do I absolutely know that I am a failure who does not market my business successfully?”
“When I believe that thought how do I think, feel, and react to the world?”
My answers brought more questions, like, “Could there be other reasons, other than “I am a failure,” that inhibit my marketing?”
And I began to list other possibilities:
– Perhaps I am afraid. If so,”what am I believing that would create fear?”
– Perhaps I am unconsciously working to convince myself that I am a failure. “Might I be unconsciously collecting evidence for an old failure story?”
– Perhaps I don't WANT more business. “Could I be purposely avoiding more work?” Could it be that I am not motivated to promote?”
Or, and these thoughts were new,
– Perhaps it simply wasn't the right time to market! Perhaps I was following an inner urge that was prompting me to hold back on marketing because it's not the right time; perhaps there were other things that needed my attention more in that moment, perhaps I was being governed towards a more “balanced” life and so had not felt nudged to produce more business!”
It seemed important to realize that there were a number of possibilities for why I had not done much marketing; my inquiry gave me the chance to allow thoughts to surface that had nothing to do with being “a failure.”
I found it interesting that I had selected the most negative thought to believe of the options available, “I am a failure.” It was especially instructive when I realized that any of the reasons named above might be at least as true as believing the more painful story, “I don't market my business well because I am a failure!”
After investigating this belief about failure, I found myself
able to better accept the pace at which my business was unfolding. I began to find peace with it and as a result, a marketing plan that has felt appropriate, a “right fit” for my business has unfolded. The slower unfolding has allowed me to come into an integrity with the way my business is promoted so that the marketing is congruent with what I teach. In other words, I aligned with reality by adopting thoughts that promote trust in the way things are, rather than believing thoughts that keep me in resistance to it.
Hope this example helps you question your own thoughts.
I had completed my hatha yoga practice and was lying, deeply relaxed in shivaysana. My attention was fixed on my inner body and I became intensely aware of the difference in energy between my right and left sides of body.
The left side of my body felt completely open, relaxed and completely pain free. No aches, no contractions; I experienced a seamless spaciousness on that side. Whereas the right side felt contracted and throbbed with dull aching, starting at my throat; I experienced “glutted” energy all the way down through my right sacral joint, hip and down into my right knee. I was very aware of the defined “line” of separation between my two sides. There was no doubt in my mind that the energy on my right side was blocked.
Being in a deep, meditative state allowed me to register what I was experiencing without resistance. I simply felt and “saw” the blocked energy. Soon my beliefs that are associated with this “wounded” right side began to surface.
“I am sick and probably won't live long,” seemed to be the main, or “core” belief that surfaced. As I continued to watch I could feel the impact of that thought on my body as the body contracted deeper into an embedded “knot-of-fear” behind my right shoulder blade. I recognized the place as being where I store my fear of dying.
Guilt surfaced as well, “I haven't take proper care of myself, now I must pay,” was the thought. My body drew up tight in response to that thought.
Such thoughts have surfaced many times since I was diagnosed, some years back, with liver disease. But it was not until that moment, in a state of deeply relaxed alertness, that I realized the blocked energy in my right side was caused by my body responding to my beliefs about the illness and not necessarily the result of the disease itself!
I watched my body respond to those scary beliefs and realized that my tension and pain on that side was absolutely created by those painful, scary thoughts.
I asked myself, “What would be different without these beliefs?” Immediately my right side began to relax; the tension and contraction began to melt. I suddenly saw how, through contraction, I had been preventing life-giving, healing energy from entering my right side! Universal energy could not come in to cleanse, heal and rejuvenate as long as I continued to think thoughts that kept my organs and muscles clenched. I could see that, without the scary belief, I would be able to immediately increase my ability to breathe in healing energy.
I began to consciously breathe, taking deep breaths as if there were no limiting story to curtail the full, complete expansion of my diaphragm and lungs. As I did, I could see the sparkling light of Source “scintillating” through me; light energy radiated throughout my right side, penetrating and aerating my heart, liver, intestines, and all my internal organs on that side.
I felt great relief as I saw how I had unconsciously “barred the door” to the Energy of a Source that heals! In doing so, I had refused to allow Universal Source Energy to enter that ailing space. No wonder my right side had been feeling stagnant and in pain!
I became aware that my right side was where ego had “set up house” in my body; it was the domain of my ego. The line marking the boundary between ego territory and my “free” self was clearly marked! I could see the ego's need to keep me believing this story of disease – it was how it was holding onto its domain!
As I watched the light radiate through my body, penetrating places it had not been able to access previously, I felt the pain and discomfort, all the heavy energy in my right side, dissipate. As the contraction and blocked energy melted, my right side felt less and less distinct from my “free” left side until I could feel no difference at all between the energy on one side of my body and the other!
I felt the absolute power of healing as the thought arose in my mind, “In this moment, I am absolutely free of all illness. I am whole and well,” and realized that that thought is as true as I will allow it to be.
I choose to question any thought that takes me into pain or illness.
When our mind is not bogged down with the stressful, self limiting stories we habitually believe then we are free to become that which we cannot otherwise fathom as possible.
We become what in metaphysics is called a free thinker.
Otherwise we simply go on looping our painful thoughts as if they are true – never questioning them. This restricts our life expression. We limit ourselves accordingly.
The way to freedom is to constantly question our assumptions about life. Such walking meditation flexes and frees the mind so that what was previously considered unreachable becomes reality.
Can I lose Weight by changing the way I think?
Changing the way you think about yourself is the only way you will be able to sustain weight loss! Diets have been proven to have minimal lasting effect. Exercise is somewhat more effective than dieting … and the reason for that is because when you adopt a lifestyle change such as regular exercise, often you will actually begin to change the way you think about yourself.
You are what you think … more accurately said … you are what you believe about yourself.
If you hate your body and see it as fat and ugly … then every time you see your reflection you will affirm that belief. Without realizing it, you are actually reinforcing that thought and no matter what you do, you will retain the weight.
You may tell yourself … “I weigh too much because I eat too much” – but the reality is that you eat too much because you believe that you're overweight. The more you focus on being overweight, the more you will struggle with it.
The body is a reflection of the mind. It's that simple. The physical picture fits the mental out-picturing. Your belief conditions the body to respond in a way that will verify what you think. Our behavior and physical appearance come out of our beliefs – not the other way around.
What we focus on expands … this is one of the principles that apples here. What we concentrate our attention on gets bigger. With weight, this is literally true! The more time and energy you spend thinking about your “weight problem” the more you will find that your weight is a problem.
What to do instead?
(1) Concentrate your energy on accepting yourself as you are right now. Start by focusing on what you like about yourself. Do the things that put you more in touch with that.
(2) Focus on what is working well and think of ways to facilitate that even more. For instance, when you eat well, affirm yourself for that and notice how good the body feels in response
(3) Practice appreciating yourself more by doing things that build your self image. For instance, “I really enjoy my morning walks … think I will walk more often.”
(4) Avoid dieting or “shoulding yourself” about your weight. .
(5) Instead of trying to figure out how to lose weight, focus on enjoying what you eat.
(6 Refuse to get preoccupied with your weight or food intake.
The key here is to begin to accept yourself where you are. Try this affirmation… “I recognize that I could not weigh an ounce less and be fully me right now. Therefore I embrace me as I am and look forward to all that I can learn from my present expression of self.”
It all starts with self acceptance.
The other recommendation I would make is for you to take time to sit down and write your beliefs about your body. Take each negative thought about your body and apply Byron Katie's four question process to those beliefs as a way to begin to become less identified with a mental concept that weighs you down.
When you begin to shed the old beliefs, the physical pounds will fall away. I know from firsthand experience that this is the way to come into a slimmer self.