Tag Archives: mindfulness

Stop Negative Thoughts

It’s natural to try to reason ones way out of harmful thinking, but in my experience, reason is not a reliable way for me to become positive. Underlying reason is a layer of feeling, attitude, and the force of habit that colors my thoughts.

I think of thoughts as plants in my “mental garden.” Sure there are some deep-rooted weeds, but they do not deserve all of my attention. If I only focused on the weeds my good plants would die, leaving me with an empty plot of dirt for a mind. Yuck!

I don’t want my life to be empty like a dirt lot. Some speak of “nothing-ness” or “emptiness” as a spiritual goal. Maybe it’s semantics, but I don’t think of fulfillment as empty. My experience of fulfillment is never empty.

The garden in my mind is full of beautiful flowers and they way I grow them is by putting energy into beautiful thoughts and feelings. Instead of obsessing on the weeds I must water, love and feed my positive thoughts.

The underlying layers feeling, attitude, and habit are the soil I plant in. It’s hard for blossoms to rise from a dry bed of rocks.

Here are some suggestions for softening and enriching the “attitude soil” of your own mind.


  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. J. Donald Walters writes: “The secret of happiness is the ability to congratulate oneself happily on one’s own unimportance while others vie for supremacy.” This is just one of the “secrets” from his book, “Secrets of Happiness.” This little book has helped me immensely.
  • Learn from your mistakes. I have made many awesome mistakes! My level of ignorance coupled by my insatiable desire to do something!, and lack of patience have made for some great stories! But at the same time, I do learn from these episodes. If I don’t learn anything but to be more humble, then that must be exactly what I need.
  • Have great respect for your ability to be wrong. This is not negative thinking. Negativity comes from the lack of acceptance that you and others are not perfect.
  • Stop judging others. If you believe we should be happy, kind, and loving. Why on earth would you join the army of sadness by judging others? It’s a habit. It’s not helping them, or you. By reacting to what you do not like, you have become an agent for what you yourself want end. It’s a trick of the devil. If you believe in a higher power, let Him, or It, or She, run the world. Of course you must do your part, but your part is not to control others, ever. If you think it is, than I don’t know how you’ll ever be happy. People need to learn at their own pace, and the best way to influence others is by our own example. Our joy and contentment is both a flower and a sword.
  • Remember everyone is doing the best they can. No matter how silly or criminally humans behave, underlying all of our nonsense is the desire to do what is right. Understanding this is a major step toward unconditional love and happiness.

Enriching: (Fertilize your mind with positive energy)

  • Feed your garden with Love! Seek out and embrace opportunities to help others without a thought for yourself. Just do it! Being helpful and serving is healing for you. By putting energy in this direction we can starve the weeds of self-involvement that feed our own negativity.
  • Water your garden with Joy! Fill your mind with positive energy through uplifting music, company, reading. Find one soul affirming song recorded by someone with uplifting consciousness (it matters) and listen to it all the time until it permeates your consciousness. Music has a unique ability to transmit and influence consciousness. Misery loves company, so be careful what you to listen to, and how you choose it. Lean toward what you aspire toward instead of what feels comfortable if you can.


  • Let the sun shine! Take care of your body through daily doses of fresh air, sunshine, brisk exercise, and fresh, healthy, natural food. Foods do affect our way of thinking. Read more about diet here.
  • Worry Fasting! Nothing good ever came from worry. If it’s a deep habit start with short fasts. Commit to ten minutes once or twice per day. Fill your mind with positive energy. A song, holy scripture, guided meditation, positive affirmation, or go work in your garden, or a nice walk in nature if possible. Smile for no reason. Laugh because it feels good. If you catch yourself worrying, you must also laugh at this. Practice each day, and gradually increase the length of fast until this becomes your natural state of mind.
  • Say Yes to Life! Spiritual growth is directional. Stay in the Now by being perfectly content with where you are, and eagerly embrace whatever life tosses your way. Do not cling to anything. See life as a school. Be a good student, and have lots of fun.


For myself, daily meditation has been key to my success in the above suggestions.


Here is one of my favorite affirmations:


“As I radiate love and goodwill to others, I will open the channel for God’s love to come to me. Divine love is the magnet that draws to me all good.”

From Scientific Healing Affirmations, by Paramhansa Yogananda

Non-Lying Pt. 2

I just reviewed what I wrote in Non-Lying pt 1, and I’m just going to flow into this directly. If you have not read that post, this might make more sense if you read that first.

Goals that I place in the future take me out of the present and steal my joy.

The more I expect something to be one way or another, the more I am disappointed.
It’s not that working for what I believe in feels useless. It’s just that my focus on a specific outcome takes me out of the present. It instantly transports me into a fictional future experience that obscures the truth and sweetness of now. Specifics that I visualize into my future are like targets. They begin as inspiring goals, which provide a direction for my energy. But they also seem to become targets for “life” to take a stab at demolishing, while I helplessly watch from the distance. They are like a mirage that always vanishes right before I arrive.

By the way: I have always been a goal setter, and I have achieved much of what I set out to do. The thing is, it’s never been the way I thought it would be when I got there.

So how to stay in the “truth and sweetness” of now? My experience has been that when I focus on the quality of energy I put into my thought and activity, it keeps me more present. The outcome I desire now is simply the continued experience of joy. A nice side effect is that when I approach what I do with calmness, and trust, even without a thought of what will come of it in the future, things always seem to go pretty well.

I determine the quality of my energy by the inner-peace and love that I feel. No matter how difficult a situation may be I try to feel that God is in control and to be His willing instrument. This helps me maintain a feeling of gratitude and love in my heart. For me this is the answer and brings the greatest success in my life.

It’s not that I can prove this or even believe it all of the time, but in the great majority of situations, I can honestly say that how I feel in myself, determines the way I experience my surroundings. Not only that, but sometimes the way I feel, actually seems to create or alter circumstances. Haven’t you ever had a bad day that just seemed to keep getting worse? It’s almost like there is an inertia created. Or the opposite: have you ever had “a string of good luck?” Again we seem to know intuitively that there is a momentum to certain energies that we can choose to ride or avoid when we are aware of them. I believe our attitude has a major role to play in this dance.

In my opinion: The big lie is that we can attain inner-peace and joy by imposing our will on the world and living for ourselves. The truth is that we can have the joy and peace we crave, only if we learn to live in harmony with what we know is right in our hearts, without resisting, or needing to control, circumstances, or people.

If we stop wanting to change people, I think we will discover how much we love them.

I hope you have peace and joy in your heart right now. I love that we can interact this way through the web, and discuss spiritual topics like this. Daily meditation is a way to tap into the peace and joy at your own center. It gives us a firm footing from where we can move forward.

I would like to hear from you.  Questions and comments are welcome!


My morning meditation was fruitful today. I hope that writing this down will help me maintain the awareness I think I have right now.

The practice of my techniques seemed very deep today. I was able to visualize my guru floating in my spine and working in my chakras. I have attempted this visualization for years but today it just seemed to go to the next level for me. It was really a very beautiful experience.

As I watched him inside of me as a tiny yogi in my astral body my mind desperately tried to tell me that it was unfair to give all of my burdens to him. It wanted me to feel bad for who I am now or have been in the past. My ego doesn’t want me to be free, because it’s afraid it will loose control of my life. It was trying to make me feel guilty for accepting the help of my divine guru. A battle raged inside of me because it’s so easy to feel that the egoic fears I have are my own, and that they define who I am. But at some level the yoga teachings have convinced me that this “little self” is not at all who I am. We all must be more if we are part of a human race that the likes of Jesus, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Yogananda, and other great ones would incarnate here solely to remind us of the true purpose of life here on earth.

For a time I overcame much of my inner resistance and felt that I allowed my guru to work inside of me more than ever before. It helped me to remember that what I visualize in the form of a man called Paramhansa Yogananda, has not the limitations of ordinary man at all. There is no limit to what God can do through a true avatar. In chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says,

“O Bharata! whenever virtue declines, and vice is ascendant, I incarnate Myself on earth. Appearing from age to age in visible form, I come to destroy evil and to re-establish virtue.”

Continuing my practice after I finished my techniques, I enjoyed for some time a deep state of peace and stillness that seemed both effortless and timeless. But then my mind began thinking of a project I’m working on. I could see it, and at first it seemed positive and productive in some way, so I allowed it to continue. I gave my ego-mind an inch, and it proceeded to drag me for a mile!

Oh how many times must we play this game to finally overcome the inertia of negativity? Thoughts that in most of my life seem fairly normal, were noticeably negative now because they erased my peace. Then I remembered the homework I suggested to the raja yoga study group I lead. It’s the practice of harmlessness, (ahimsa) or ridding the consciousness of harmful desire and energy. I couldn’t reason my way out of what I was thinking and what I saw in the situation that had grabbed my attention. There was no mental way out of this.

Then I found my answer as I do many times in my meditations, over and over again. God didn’t send me here to fix the world and all of its troubles by focusing on all the negative details and thinking them over. Intellectual reasoning’s are hopelessly limited. It’s feeling that made me realize where the thoughts had taken me. Feeling revealed more truth than any reasoning I tried. And what feeling brings me back to my center? For me the feeling I seek comes through gratitude. Gratitude for those who took the time to teach me how to meditate, gratitude for my God given awareness, and even the ability to reason. And gratitude for the freedom to embrace that state of mind, which uncovers the experience of divine joy and inner peace in my heart.

By remaining as much as I can in a state of gratitude, I’ll be more kind, patient, and divinely loving. The more I can be a channel for divine love, the less harm I will cause to myself, and others.

Today this will be my practice of ahimsa.