"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts." ~ Buddha
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Possibility Thinker
Buddha said, "Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts." This statement reminds me that we need to careful with our thoughts. When we let our "unguarded thoughts" take control of our lives, we may endanger ourselves. If you think about it, thoughts and beliefs are at the root of the lessons that both Buddha and Jesus taught. As enlightened masters, they both understood that we create our own experiences. Our thoughts are at the root of every experience.
You may or may not know that I am a Licensed Science of Mind Minister. As a new student of this philosophy, I was struck by the importance of my taking control--and responsibility--for my own thoughts. In this teaching, we learn that we must take control of our thoughts if we want to have control over our lives. It is a fact that how we think about things shapes our physical experiences of those same things. And the marvelous part (and the maddening part as the case may be) is that we get to CHOOSE our thoughts! Don't think so? Try it. You will find that you CAN choose in every present moment how you think about every situation in your life.
Some people have not yet learned that their thoughts are within the realm of their control. As a result, they let their uncontrolled, "unguarded" thoughts drive their experiences. They haven't learned (yet) that they can choose different thoughts and have a different experience.
Researchers have studied humans and their thoughts. In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article about one of their studies. Their findings indicated that the average person has somewhere between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative. Furthermore, 95% of those thoughts are exactly the same thoughts as the day before. They become repetitive from day to day. And about 80% are those repetitive thoughts are also negative.
That's a lot of negative thinking!
Of course, the brain generates negative thoughts in its efforts to keep us safe. And there is nothing wrong with that, is there? After all, our ancestors needed to be on the lookout for danger at every turn. Their mere survival depended upon it.
But most of the dangers we face today are not related to our physical safety. We often succumb to negative thoughts that seem meant to keep us safe. They also manage to keep us stuck in lives of quiet desperation that Henry David Thoreau referred to in his classic work, Walden.
As a result of our fear of change and the unknown, we stay in relationships long after they have served their purpose. We stay in jobs that we no longer find fulfilling. We stay put because we are fearful of change. Change is uncertain.
And change feels scary.
Research also shows that there is a definite mind-body connection with your thoughts. When you think a particular thought, your body responds accordingly. Your thoughts create your physical reactions. When you think sad thoughts, you may find yourself feeling weepy, and you want to cry. When you think happy thoughts, you want to share your happiness with the world! And then, there are hundreds of thousands of thoughts and feelings in between.
When I first undertook the study of Science of Mind, I made it a game to start paying attention to my thoughts. I learned that awareness is the first step toward enlightenment. Being aware of your thoughts is the first step. Once you are aware of them, then you can consider how you might change them.
Mindfulness is an outgrowth of this work that people are doing these days. Teachers are even learning how to teach mindfulness to their students. Students learn that they can soothe themselves when they get upset. By being in touch with their feelings, a lot of negative behaviors can be averted or avoided altogether.
May I suggest that if this idea is new to you that you consider experimenting a bit? Set aside a day or two when you are going to be intentional about paying attention to your thoughts. Especially pay attention when your mind is wandering. Pay attention when you are in the shower or driving alone. Catch yourself and your mind wandering as you walk the dog. What is going on in your head during those quiet times? Try to catch yourself and pay special attention to the negative thoughts you have. The ones that tell you why you can't do certain things. Pay attention to the ones that tell you that you aren't good at something like math or science or art. Pay attention to when someone pays you a compliment. Do you brush it off, or do you accept it and say "Thank you"?
I learned early in my studies that "Thoughts Become Things." As a result, I see this manifesting in my own life as well as other people's lives. If that is true, don't you think it would be worth making an effort to think good thoughts instead of dwelling on negative ones?
Give it a try. Let me know what your experience is. And if you would like some help with this, let me know. I would love to help you if I can.
Until next time.
Before you go, just a note about the ongoing Group Coaching Program that I conduct. Did you see the latest Case Study that I posted over the weekend? If not, take a look here:
[Case Study] Meet Amie Who Has Decided to Take On a New Challenge in Her Career.
If you would like to be part of the next Group Coaching Program, it's not too late to join. If you don't know if it is a good fit for you, make an appointment for a 20-minute complimentary session and let's talk about what you need and how I might assist you.
Sign up for an appointment here: http://kittyboitnott.coachesconsole.com/calendar.