fighting

Stop Struggling with Stinking Thinking

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July 30th, 2017

2 min read

Anytime you've ever been fearful, unhappy or suffered with anxiety of any kind, upsetting emotions that quash the joys of living came by way of the stream of thoughts in your head. When this happens, not only do you relive past traumas, but you also pre-live the merely potential traumas that haven’t even happened yet, and may never actually occur.

I have friends who’ve recovered from alcoholism that like to point to the line in their “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, which says, “God gave us brains to use.” It’s an attempt to remind readers that they should respect their capacity to reason.

Of course, that’s absolutely true. But this isn’t to say that the brain should rule us. We are spiritual beings after all. Still, we cannot ignore that big gray blob riding our skulls. Not when it seems to be at the master controls of nearly everything we do.

The view does suggest, however, that there is an appropriate use of the human intellect. Unfortunately, for some, that “intelligence,” gets their best rather than the other way around.

You must, of course, think. Your brains are meant to be used. But what about the negative thoughts and upsetting ideas that seem to get in the way of peace, making life more complicated than it need be?

People have tried to suspend thinking to rid themselves of the commotion in their heads. They’ve manipulate thoughts, smoothing over stinking thinking with positive thinking or lofty, spiritualized concepts. They try blotting them out with music, mantras, obsessive behaviors and other distractions that later become unwholesome vices which are very difficult to shake.

They even try to go direct, influencing objectionable thoughts by meddling with the biochemistry of the brain. All of these schemes are cover-ups, at best affording only temporary positive effects. They end up worse off.

That’s because you cannot successfully manage thoughts. If you try, they might bend at first but ultimately end up controlling and frustrating you.

Whenever we become stressed by the thoughts in our head, the struggle turns life into an incessant inner battle that breeds only more thinking and more insecurity. We begin to worry. We can become paralyzed by fear, not knowing what to do next.

There is an effective way to deal with this.

First realize that as long as we believe we can rid ourselves of the mental chattering in the head, we never will. Instead, remain above thoughts as much of the time as you can during the day. You’ll stay free and neutral, unaffected by them.

Simply observe thoughts as they approach. Don’t fight them, no matter how depraved or how beautiful they are. Take no sides. Allow God to protect against all stress. Do not war against it.

This is not to say you aren’t courageous or strong in the face of difficulties. It means you aren’t combative, willfully engaged in mental mêlées waged against windmills and monsters out of the past, present or future.

After a while, you won’t be haunted by a regrettable past nor provoked into fear by the prospect of the uncertain future. As you experience now in real-time, you develop the strength to endure in God’s real world. Life becomes peaceful once we develop resilience to hate.

The cycle of resentful resistance against your own negative emotions must be broken. Giving up the struggle is how it’s done.

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