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What To Do With Negative Thoughts

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! 

Living in the Present Moment

“Be in the Present.” We have all heard these words of wisdom but there seems to be confusion on how to implement such a seemingly simple task. I often hear concerns of how scheduling and taking care of the many tasks that modern day life supplies us with will take place if we do not look to the future. I assure you that one can live in the present and still live in the modern, material oriented world. But if one never meditates then it will be very difficult to leave the demands of the world behind and be in the present moment!

What does it mean to be in the present moment? What does it feel like? Peace. Connection to one’s Higher Self. Knowingness that all is well. Absence or significant decrease in thoughts. There is nothing one ‘needs’ to do. When something does need attention and action then it is just done without prior worry, anxiety or concern.

When we are in the present moment we are actually more efficient. We can allow a knowingness to come to us, guiding us moment by moment in the things we have to do. There is no longer a worry about this and that but we can quietly and confidently know that all will get done in it’s right time. In choosing to be in the present moment we are also accepting that there is a Higher Awareness operating in our life. One can look to that Higher Awareness as God, the Higher Self, Angels, Guides, etc. Whatever name you give it it is All-knowing and what we connect with when we still the mind through meditation or mindfulness.

The bliss, stillness, peacefulness that many of you have commented on after a session with me or during meditation can be sustained. Meditation/Mindfulness is a state that we can experience with our eyes open, moving through life. It takes an intention, a commitment on your part. In order to change the path, a new path must be created. This must be done through continually pulling the thoughts away from the habitual path and redirecting them in a new, healthier way. Be consistent and you will see results. The deeper the groove the longer it takes to fill in but it does happen and you can experience change in a relatively short period of time. After all, if you have spent 30 years thinking a certain way are you going to give up after 2 weeks? Give it time!

Here are some tips on your path of the Present:

– Meditate daily for at least 10 minutes but preferably more. If you have never meditated then sit still, feel your feet, your body. Do not focus on thoughts or words but observe them and let them pass. If needed, focus on the word Peace, or another mantra, every few minutes.

– When you notice your thoughts moving to the past or future, bring your awareness to your breath, soles of feet, top of head.

– At various times of the day bring attention to the top of your head and breathe light through your spine from top of head to tailbone.

– Let go of the idea of achievement. Let go of goals- even the goal of being more peaceful! Just be and love yourself for where you are, every step of the way.

– Be Thankful! Bring the mind to Love and Gratitude, Feel it and Be it.

– Find a mantra that appeals to you and use it whenever you can, throughout the day. Repeating a mantra silently can hasten your progress in eliminating old thought patterns. If you need assistance in finding a mantra I can help you. A few to start with include:

Om Vajra Sattwa Hung (Tibetan- for creating mental clarity)

Om Namah Shivaya (Sanskrit – Om and Salutations, May the elements of this creation abide in me in full manifestation/To that which I am capable of becoming- the path of perfection)

Sat Chid Ekam Brahma (Sanskrit – Truth, Consciousness, Only One, Creator-Creation/Cosmos)

So Hum (Sanskrit – balances autonomic nervous system and the masculine/feminine within you)

Shanti (Sanskrit- Peace)

 

Many Blessings to You on your Path~

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi

Allow Peace~

The following is an excerpt from The Bhagavad Gita Demystified Volume 1, Controlling the Mind, by Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

 

Real peace is something that is in us all the time irrespective of what is going on outside. We are simply happy unto ourselves. Our peace is in no way related to or dependent on the people and situations around us. 

Real peace is nothing but the bliss that we feel inside ourselves. When peace is born out of bliss, it keeps us as well as others in a peaceful state. When we are satisfied with ourselves, we do not depend on anything external to be peaceful.

Actually, with modern man, because of all the influences from media and the internet, a cerebral layer has formed. Man relates only with the imagination and fantasies that he has collected from the media. He can no longer relate with reality. If he had collected the images from reality, it would be fine because these exist in reality. But he starts to relate with fantasies. He lives in that imaginary world and does not see what he really has. Once he associates with that imaginary world, he is no longer in the present moment. He is already dreaming.

Even if the dream gets fulfilled, the moment it gets fulfilled, the mind will start running behind a new pursuit, a new imagination. Only when it does this can the mind survive. If there was nothing to run behind, the mind or ego cannot exist. 

We don’t understand that every tomorrow comes only as today. When the tomorrow comes as today, we simply miss it because we are now looking at tomorrow once again!

When we work without unnecessarily thinking about the result, all our energies will be used towards realizing the goal. The energy will not be dissipated in imagining the results. The power of desire, iccha shakti, will be converted to the power of action, kriya shakti. The desire may initially be a goal, but what is important is the path that the action must focus on and not the end result. The goal is merely a byproduct. 

Suppose a child is playing with some small toy and you bring him a new big toy. If you take away the small toy from its hands, what will the child do? It will start yelling and crying. Even if you explain you have a much better, bigger toy, will it listen? No! Just give it the new toy and suddenly, it will forget the old one and start enjoying the new one. 

In the same way, Existence also tries to give us a big toy. Existence is so vast and wonderous, beyond imagination. Just imagine the kind of toy the Existence has give us – the whole of Itself! Enjoy it to the fullest. Celebrate it and express your gratitude! Your mind will always tell you that the small toy, your little dreams, your ego, is the most important thing and you need it to survive. Just for a few days, try to drop your fantasies and your expectations. For a few days, decide to drop your fears and your protections of the ego. 

Just live life in a simple way, enjoying every moment, enjoying the splendor of nature. Enjoy each and every thing that Existence has created. Start observing simple yet wonderful things like the sunrise in the morning, the play of the vibrant colors and hues in the morning sky. Listen to the chirping of the birds as they get ready to enjoy a new dawn. See the flowers blooming in all their glory in the morning sun, ecstatic to open up to the warm rays of the sun. 

Just these few moments will show us a whole new dimension of our Being. They will show us what it is to enjoy life without a reason, without running behind or away from something. They will teach us how to relax into the welcoming, embracing arms of Existence. 

Cold and Flu season

As we approach cold and flu season there are several items I like to keep on hand to ward off viruses. Unless you live in a rural community or don’t venture out into public, there is no one who will not come into contact with a virus or two this fall and winter. This does not mean that you have to succumb to getting sick. I have found a few simple measures that will give your body a boost and keep you healthy despite what may be happening to your friends and colleagues.

  • Avoid the flu shot. It stresses the immune system and does not guarantee immunity to the flu or other viruses.
  • Drink green tea daily.
  • Eat lots of fresh organic fruits and vegetables and garlic, avoid sugar and junk food.
  • As a preventative or for exposure drink ginger, lemon, garlic tea. (see The Healing Power of Herbs post)
  • Take Vitamin C daily (at least 1500 mg/day) and take 1-2 gm every couple of hours if feeling ill.
  • Homeopathic Oscillococcinum. For children try Hylands Flu Care, Cold & Flu or Sniffles and Sneezes.
  • Herbs: for feeling hot, scratchy throat, headache try Yin Qiao San; or for cold or flu symptoms try Gan Mao Ling.
  • Make a Super Tonic: Ginger, Onion, Garlic, Horseradish, Hot Pepper and Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar. Chop equal parts of each ingredient in food processor, place in mason jar to 3/4 level and fill the jar with vinegar. Ideally you let sit for 30 days in cool, dark place but if needed use before that time. Take 2-3 dropperfuls or by the teaspoonfuls!
  • Avoid antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers. Instead use tea tree oil or other essential oils like rosemary and lavender.
If you do start feeling like you are getting sick and the above measures aren’t helping consider an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can often halt or lessen the symptoms of colds, flus and other viruses.

 

 

 

Follow the Path

The following is an excerpt from ‘Instructions for Enlightenment’ in The Bhagavad Gita Demystified Volume 3 by Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

‘Yes, but I am happy if the results are what I want,’ you say. But how long are you happy? Human nature is such that you are never satisfied with one thing for long. You move in greed from one desire to another. Even with a simple understanding of the law of probability, you can see that half the time you will fail and be in sorrow. You will bounce back and forth between sorrow and happiness like a roller coaster ride.

You have asked, ‘How can I be unemotional? How can I be detached?’ These emotions – happiness and sorrow, irritation and excitement, violence and fear – happiness when you set goals and expectations and link your future to them. You feel that only if things happen the way you want, your future is secure; otherwise you feel your future is in jeopardy. How many of these life and death situations do you face daily, weekly or monthly? It is unlikely that we face such situations, where our life depends on what we do, more than a few times in our entire life.

The rest is pure imagination. You build fantasies and feel that unless these fantasies are realized, you will not be happy. Then it goes without saying: you will not be happy. That is why most of you are unhappy. You simply build fantasies that have no connection with real life. 

First, renounce fantasies about things you do not have. Renounce what you do not have. Live with what you have and enjoy that. We can all do this. It is perfectly possible to achieve this, is it not? There is nothing superhuman in accomplishing this, is there? You simply need to reduce your greed. Make an effort to appreciate what you already have. Make a list of everything you have, including your physical and mental faculties; then give gratitude to the Almighty for having been so compassionate. 

Once you get into this mode of being happy with what you basically need and have, which is the discipline of aparigraha laid down by Patanjali for simple living, you settle down into a mood of non-expectation. You enjoy the present instead of craving the future. 

When you move into the present moment, you renounce the past and future. Focus on the present, and what you need to do now, without worrying about what should happen. Let what happens happen. Do what you need to do. Focus on the path, not on the destination. 

When you focus on the path, you begin to enjoy the journey. The path itself has no goals fixed to it for you to achieve. So, there is no attachment. The requirement is only that you travel that path. Wherever you reach will be the right destination. 

Live life the way it is served to you. Enjoy whatever happens. Remain in the understanding that the universe is always compassionate to you. Whatever happens is for our good. Whether we realize it or not at that moment, it is good for us. This is surrender. This is renunciation. When this renunciation happens, when you trust that whatever happens is for your good, the universe smiles on you. Bliss descends on you!

Let in the Light!

The following is a question and answer from The Bhagavad Gita Demystified Volume 1 by Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

Q: Swamiji, how can we surrender the ego when this wanting to surrender is itself an expression of the ego?

A: A question to you: How are you going to surrender the ego, when it does not exist?

Suppose you are sitting in a dark room. You want the darkness to go out. Can you push it out? Can you fight darkness and force it to leave the room? No! No matter how long you keep trying, you are ultimately going to be defeated – and that too by something which does not exist!

Ego is like darkness, it has no positive existence. Just like darkness is simply the absence of light, ego is nothing but the absence of awareness. To struggle to kill the ego is like struggling to push darkness out of the room.

To really expel darkness, what you need to do is forget all about dealing with darkness. Focus your energy on light instead. Just bring a small lamp into the room, and you will find that the darkness has fled on its own!

So, I tell you to forget all about the ego. Instead, focus on bringing a lamp of awareness into your being. Bring the light of your consciousness to your unconscious zone. When your entire consciousness has become a flame, you will find that the ego is no more.

What you have heard, read been taught – ‘Surrender the ego in order to attain self-realization’ – is an utterly impractical idea. It can happen only the other way round. Self-realization dawns, and suddenly you cannot find the ego anymore. Surrender has already happened, just like that.

However, I am glad that the question has arisen in your being. Ego is the root cause for all your anxieties, sorrows and tensions. It is your doorway to hell. To actively feel that you want to drop the ego, to feel the need to get rid of this burden is in itself a step towards awareness. It shows that you are stirring from your sleep!

 

Nourishing the Spleen

The spleen meridian runs from the outer part of the big toe, along the inside edge of the foot, up the inside of the leg, over the abdomen and outer edge of the chest, and ends on the side of the chest midway between the axilla and lower edge of ribs.

 

Your spleen may be out of balance if:

 

  • You are not getting proper rest
  • You think or worry excessively
  • Your diet consists of a lot of grains, especially processed grains like bread made of wheat flour
  • You consume a lot of milk and cheese
  • You use sugar daily or regularly eat items with sugar as an ingredient
  • You feel fatigued easily or have a heavy feeling in your body
  • You don’t digest your food well, have a poor appetite, or loose stool
  • You tend to gain weight around the middle
  • Your brain feels foggy or sluggish

 

To nourish your spleen and increase Qi (energy), try the following:

 

  • Eat more fresh fruits and lightly cooked vegetables
  • Include ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, clove and other warming spices in your diet
  • Avoid sugar, breads and grains (except millet, amaranth and quinoa in moderation)
  • Try substituting unsweetened organic rice, soy, almond or hemp milk for diary milk
  • Get adequate sleep and light exercise daily
  • Try meditation to reduce worry and excessive thinking

 

 

If you are still feeling symptoms after eliminating wheat and dairy from your diet, increasing fruits and vegetables and adding light to moderate exercise then you may benefit from acupuncture and/or herbs. When the diet has been heavy in grains, sugar and dairy one can often benefit from a short herbal cleanse of black walnut and other herbs (try Gaia Wormwood Black Walnut Supreme tincture).

Nourishing the Liver

The liver meridian runs from the inner part of the big toe, over the top of the foot, up the inside of the leg, over the abdomen and ends at the center of the 5th rib, almost halfway up the front of the ribcage.

 

Your liver may be out of balance if:

 

  • You feel stressed
  • You are frequently feeling frustrated or irritated
  • You are depressed
  • You are experiencing anger
  • You drink more than 2-4 oz of wine, 1 beer, or ½ ounce of liquor more than 3 days per week. Amounts of alcohol larger than this damage the liver and cause the liver stress.
  • You are waking between 1 and 3 am
  • You have dry eyes or floaters
  • You have pre-menstrual symptoms

 

To nourish your liver and move liver energy, try the following:

 

  • Get regular moderate exercise like walking briskly, yoga, etc.
  • Eat a leafy green vegetable daily- like kale, collards, chard, mustard, dandelion, arugula and beets with greens.
  • Use oil and vinegar on your salads or other in other dishes. Or just take a tablespoon of raw unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar daily or drink Kombucha.
  • Find an appropriate way to express emotions like anger, frustration and irritation.
  • Drink a chicory beverage instead of coffee.
  • Avoid greasy or fried foods and alcohol
  • Consider doing a liver flush.
  • Try meditation or visualization. See yourself accomplishing something meaningful to you or meditate on feeling expansive.

 

Acupuncture can help you reset your liver but taking charge of your health by following the above suggestions can help you get back in balance more quickly.

Staying Centered

It can be challenging to stay centered during times of conflict whether it is internal conflict, or chaos in your environment. Practicing a few techniques can help you stay grounded . Learning to find your own internal stillness does take meditation and practice. It’s not really about having absolutely no thought but rather being able to feel calm and still in order to listen to your own internal voice.

– Make time for at least 15 minutes of quiet in your day. Even 5-10 minutes blocks of time can be helpful. Often the time that you are still increases on it’s own- for example, you may plan to sit for 5 minutes and suddenly you realize that it was 10 or 20.

– Allow thoughts to move through without focusing on them. Just bring awareness to your thoughts, observing them rather than becoming involved and carried away with them.

– Use a mantra (peace, contentment, om namah shivaya, OM, etc) or a visual like light in the center of your head or opening the energy centers at the base of tailbone, lower and upper abdomen, heart, throat, forehead and top of head. The chakras on the torso are front and back while the crown and root are single.  When using a mantra, repeat about every 3 minutes or when you find your mind has become engaged in a thought rather than the observer of the thought. Stefanie can help you find a mantra that suits your needs.

– Visualize your energy field as a column of light. This column should be about 2-3 feet around you on all sides (or where it feels comfortable), extending infinitely above your head to source energy and infinitely below your feet through the center of the earth. Bring a second column around the first 2-3 inches away from source energy.

 Feel yourself drawing in energy and nutrients from the earth and collecting the powerful sunlight. Trees only need to be- they don’t have to do anything. Just their presence provides shelter and nourishment to other creatures. This can be a good meditation for those of you who are focussing too much on others and allowing yourself to get depleted. Use this time to replenish yourself!

The healing power of herbs

Healing herbs are easy to use and can be found in your kitchen. Using fresh or dried spices in your cooking, or drinking herbal teas are one way for you to create health daily! Here are a few examples:

Fresh Ginger, Lemon and Garlic tea to boost your immune system and ward off colds and flus. Drink frequently during cold season as a preventative for best results. Ingredients: 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, half an organic lemon and 3 cloves of garlic in 2 cups water. Bring water to a boil with ginger and lemon and simmer for several minutes. Turn off heat and add diced garlic. Drink hot or cool. Ginger and lemon can also be used as a digestive tea before meals. 

For cough add 1-4 oz of fresh thyme to above recipe or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. You can also make a tea with 1 tsp of dried thyme, 1-3 cloves of garlic and raw, unfiltered honey for cough and/or sore throat. Drink 1 cup 3-5 times per day.