Thoughts Can Make You Suffer or Set You Free
Most of us walk through this world on autopilot never truly aware of our emotional state in any given moment. We are lost in our thoughts and the busy-ness of life. All too often we believe that the thoughts we carry, the stories we write in our minds are the truth. I want you to start recognizing that most of the thoughts you carry throughout your day are truly made up tales. You might be thinking right now that your thoughts are the truth and moreover that your thoughts are who you truly are. I want to start challenging you to recognize your thoughts as the stories you have created about people, events and even yourself, based on the conditioning you have received throughout your life.
Within us is a powerful emotional guidance system that lets us know in any moment whether the thoughts we carry are the truth or a false belief. If a thought you are carrying is causing you pain, it is your inner system and guidance telling you that you are telling yourself something that is not true. This story, or limiting belief is insulting the core of you are. It is hurting the authentic, spiritual inner part of you and it is this pain, that is here to tell you that you are not in alignment with who you came here to be.
Let me share a little about a powerful inner dynamic at play within you. It is this inner system that is creating your experience of life in any given moment. We come into this world whole, authentic, joyful, loving and imparted with the wisdom of the entire universe. Shortly after babies are born and certainly by the time children enter school age, parents, grandparents and society as a whole have already started to place expectations on the child and have started to mold the young child into their projections and expectations. This is usually done by parents rather subconsciously and most often with no ill intent. Maybe the child is very active and was born to a household of quiet and introverted parents. Before too long, the parents will let the child know in ways both little and big that the exuberance is too much. A child, by nature will take these subtle messages and start to conform. The intrinsic belief being “I am too much”. This is but one small example of all the ways that children learn to conform and twist into a more acceptable version of themselves. This newly created identity then forms a conditioned part of us. Most adults in this world, behave primarily out of a conditioned part. It is a very rare adult that has managed to live life without taking on the molding and expectations of the adults around them.
The authentic part of us that came into this world shows itself less and less and the conditioned part starts managing our thoughts and how we experience our life. However, the authentic self is still very much inside of us. It knows what brings us joy, it knows the truth of who we are and above all it knows who we came to be in this world. The painful emotions we feel when we are in a depressive episode are a clear indication that we are telling ourselves a story that insults who we truly are and the authentic self is lessened by it. There is incredible power in truly knowing that the pain we feel is directly influenced by the thoughts we are thinking and the stories we tell ourselves.
Once we start becoming aware of the thoughts and stories running through our head in any given moment, we start to recognize that we do have power over our thought. Our brain is a wonderfully complex system of energy, electrical stimulants and neural pathways. You may have heard the saying “neurons that fire together wire together” All that truly means is that if you carry a thought for any amount of time, similar thoughts are automatically drawn in. A common belief is that if you carry any thought for approximately 17 seconds, like thoughts will start flooding in and you are creating a river of thoughts so to speak. The more negative thoughts you have the stronger the current of the river, and the wider the river becomes. Pretty soon all negative thoughts are drawn into this river and it becomes incredibly difficult to battle the strong currents of the river.
Once you start paying attention to the stories, you may likely notice that you repeat the same stories over and over again. It is your narrative. If you have suffered from depression for a long time, the narratives have become a very ingrained part of your thought processes. In other words, you have created a strong current. Every time that thought or story is activated, you fall into the same neural pathway pattern therefore strengthening that river current and the likelihood of falling into it over and over again.
The first step in conquering depression from a spiritual perspective is to start paying close attention to your thoughts and the impact they have on your emotional well-being.