1. You are not your thoughts– just observe them do not become attached to your thoughts or attach judgement or meaning to them.
2. Do not try to suppress thoughts but if they require you to question them then ask, “Why am I thinking this way? What do I need in this moment?” Do you need love, nurturing, to be heard, valued, respected, comforted, etc?
3. Give yourself what you need in that moment. If you are angry and hurt that you did not get the acknowledgement you wanted from someone then feel it coming from yourself/the universe/God. Give yourself what you need! It is not other’s responsibility to fill our voids.
4. It’s okay to feel sad or angry or any other emotion provided we don’t dwell upon it longer than is useful. Anger is an important emotion to motivate us or spur us to action but dwelling on it is harmful. Allow yourself to express what you need to express and recognize, then move on. Smile, laugh, run, look at the sky, say some mantras, do something you enjoy, listen to positive uplifting music to shift your mood.
5. Let go of expectations. Expectations are the cause of so much suffering. Greet the world with a giving attitude that expects nothing in return. When you learn and master this technique it is pure joy and freedom. It requires unlearning so many things that have been engrained in us from early childhood- that everything gets a reward. Let the action itself be the reward, not the response.
So often when one is in a low mood or having self-defeating thoughts the tendency is to begin criticizing oneself for not being positive! It is only in this earthly plane that the duality exists- positive/negative, good/bad, light/dark. Begin to notice when you are labeling your emotions and thoughts and instead just observe them. Begin to notice when you are thinking or feeling yourself anything less than perfect or divine. Yes, we are all perfect, unique and beautiful even if we are not expressing it in that moment or have yet to express it. It is in that moment of low mood that is is most difficult for us to believe, acknowledge or express that innate beauty that is ours.
Meditation requires discipline and a desire to know your your True Self. The only way to know the True Self is through contemplation and introspection. There is nothing to fear and everything to gain! Unless you fear that you are not who you think you are- and this is most certainly true, you are so much more! Through meditation or introspection you will learn to be a neutral observer of your thoughts. If something unpleasant surfaces remind yourself that you are not your thoughts, but a spectator. Just as the TV may run commercials and programs, so your mind discharges the images and thoughts that have accumulated during your day or your life. You don’t become the television but observe it and shut it off if you don’t like what you are hearing, same with your mind- one must learn to shut it off or change channels if you don’t like what you are observing. When I say to observe your thoughts during meditation I am suggesting that you notice and let it pass and not follow it to the end of its story. Most thoughts are random and unconnected. We get into trouble if we begin to connect the thoughts and place meaning upon it.
Attempting to suppress thoughts leads to more of the same thoughts. It’s best not to try to avoid thinking about something. Just as those who are trying to change their diets crave what is on the ‘do not eat’ list, so does the mind crave the thoughts that you are trying to suppress. Notice I say ‘trying’ as we can never really suppress thoughts. Just begin to bring in a counter-thought. For example, so many people dwell on what is lacking in their life. Rather than saying to oneself, “I don’t want to be without money/relationship/sleep/job, etc”, begin telling yourself that you are open to a full bank account/ steady paycheck/loving, committed relationship/fantastic job that you enjoy, etc. If you are feeling angry that you were not properly regarded by someone then rather than focusing on the anger and trying to clear it, visualize/bring in the love and attention that you were craving.
The mind is a powerful tool. With diligence and awareness you can use the power of the mind to continually shift yourself thought by thought to a new perspective. You can indeed create Peace and Harmony in your life!