Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. May all beings be peaceful.

What an eloquent blessing. And such an important one. You see, in traditional Buddhist belief, we are all suffering.....all carrying a heavy load. So, let’s talk go down that road a bit more...what about this heavy load? How did it get there? What can we do about it?

The last few days, in our classes we have been talking about Asmita – the ego....and how seeing ourselves as the centre of the Universe virtually stops our spiritual growth, among many other things. But what about when we consciously – or unconsciously – deflate the ego?

Perhaps the most destructive and pervasive challenge to health and well-being – particularly mental well-being, is negative mind talk.

Are you a worrier? You know, we have about 50,000 thoughts a day. Most of them are repetitions of previous thoughts. So, the deal is that you probably have had this worrying thought MANY times already today!

More negative mind talk.....Do you demean or belittle yourself? Are you driven? Do you judge or criticize yourself? Do you feel you are in some way defective or inadequate? Do you think that whatever you do, is it never enough? Guilt and self-pity are among the other self-destructive thoughts.

So, The trick is to figure out what you’re continuously thinking about.

These are all signs of our mind running amok, and they are extremely destructive.

There is nothing new here. We all know this. In fact, Patanjali, our ancient Yogi, wrote about 2,000 years ago in the Yoga Sutras that negativity is so destructive that it needs to be stopped at the instant that it begins...and further, changed to a positive thought.

The mind needs to serve you, not the other way around. You see, we have a mind. Yes, we know that. The mind shows itself as the internal dialogue that continuously goes on in our head, or we think that’s where it is.

Actually the mind is part of our eternal self and connects to us via our brain. However, if you have not trained your mind to be your servant (it is a little bit like animal obedience training,) then it is most likely running amok, meaning you have no control over what it speaks and when.

What you may not know is that every time you say self-destructing words to yourself, you are continuing your negative story of yourself and your life. You are maintaining and perpetuating your circumstances in your life. You see, thoughts are energy. When you are repeating negative self-talk, you are creating the energy of that self-talk. And since like attracts like, the universe will now send you circumstances in your life that confirm and substantiate that negative self-talk.

What is your mind “speaking” to you? Keep careful watch. We all have our favourites! Poor me. Why me? I’m too weak, too stupid, not good enough, too inadequate....and the list goes on.

Listen. Hear. Feel. How do you feel when that self-talk takes over? Certainly, not feeling ‘good’ about yourself.

Further, a vicious cycle has been laid down....a samscara.....a ‘mind groove’ which will be repeated again and again until you actually believe your inferiority/

What does our ancient Guru Patanjali have to say to us about negative thoughts?

1. When you are disturbed by unwholesome negative thoughts or emotions, cultivation of their opposites promotes self-control and firmness in the precepts.

2. Negative thoughts and emotions are violent, in that they cause injury to yourself and others, regardless of whether they are performed by you, done by others, or you permit them to be done. They arise from greed. anger, or delusion regardless of whether they arise from mild, moderate, or excessive emotional intensity.

They result in endless misery and ignorance. Therefore, when you consistently cultivate the opposite thoughts and emotions, the unwholesome tendencies are gradually destroyed.

3. By abiding in nonviolence, one’s presence creates an atmosphere in which hostility ceases.

Cultivation of the opposites. This is how we get out of the vicious cycle. Watch your thoughts. And when/if you catch yourself a having bad thoughts about yourself, immediately stop. Not a single word more!

Some would advise to have a silent mind for 15 seconds or more. Now....THAT is difficult! Since the mind’s job is to THINK, it is going to resist mightily if you order it to be absolutely quiet. So, instead, command your mind to think of something good and pleasant. You may want to have some pre-thought and pre-arranged subjects. Command your mind to think about those pleasant situations you have already thought about.

If your mind is very LOUD and insists on THINKING (read worrying), tell your mind to ‘stop.’ Yes, just say ‘Stop!’ to your mind. And if it is still in resisting mode, say ‘STO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-P!’

It really does work!

When your mind is free of self-defeating thought, your life is about to change! .....with notes from Daniel the Healer and of course, Patanjali

“A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don't have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.”

— Gina Lake, What about Now?: Reminders for Being in the Moment