A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
― Byron Katie
Until 2005, it never occured to me to actually question my thoughts.
I was like everyone else, allowing them to run my daily life without being aware of how detrimental a lot of those thinking patterns were!
When I am not aware of the way I am thinking, that means I am on “autopilot” and all I am doing is reacting to life.
The worst thing about reacting to every negative situation that happens, no matter how small it is during the course of the day, is that it begins a domino effect of a mood that spirals down to a dark, negative state.
We have no idea that negative thoughts pile together and are drawn to each other like magnets.
Once you conjure up a strong enough negative thought, it is guaranteed that another one will follow…
…until you are full blown depressed, enraged, anxious, nervous… name the state, and you shall become it.
A lot of the time we have absolutely no idea where these thoughts come from.
We just find ourselves under a dark cloud of despair.
Theeeen what do we do when we find ourselves in this dark cloud?
We project, and we escape.
We either lash out, blame, or try to avoid what we are going through… anything to keep from dealing with what is really happening inside us.
But if we are going to lead mentally and emotionally healthy lives, then we need to start questioning our daily thought patterns!
So I want to introduce you to someone whose work I truly admire:
Her name is Byron Katie.
I’ve been listening, reading and watching a lot of her work lately.
(Byron Katie, author, speaker and creator of “The Work”)
I describe this remarkable woman as a thought reliever. Katie’s work is all free on her website thework.com (click on the link to find out more about her and her work) and seeks to ask 4 very essential questions about the thoughts that wreak havoc on our minds.
1. Is the thought true?
2. Can you be absolutely sure that the thought is true?
3. How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?
4. What would I be without the thought?
These are incredibly powerful questions.
They are the kind that you take a pen and paper, sit with, and go through the process of peeling one layer after another, sifting through certain thoughts that have been causing you to suffer for so long in your life.
So let’s try the exercise right now.
Which thought is really tormenting you right now?
Let’s say that you honestly and truly believe that you will never find a better job than the one you have now.
Perhaps you believe that because of:-
– your current qualifications not being enough
– how tight the job market is
– believing that you don’t have the time to search for new opportunities
– you have too many obligations (family, etc)
so this has you believing that the chances of you having a happier and more fulfilling career are slim to none.
Let’s apply the 4 questions to your belief
1. Is the fact that you will never find a job true?
2. Can you be absolutely sure that your never finding a better job is true?
3. How do you react- what happens – when you believe that you will never find a better job?
4. Who would you be without the belief that you will never find a better job?
If you decide to take this exercise very seriously and write out the answers to these questions concerning your most negative thoughts, you will be very surprised at the insight you will receive from the answers you write down.
So if you want to find relief from a thought that is really bothering you, try this exercise, and say thank you to Byron Katie for the insight!