The pleasant or the positive thoughts do not bother us as much as the negative thoughts or the thoughts we consider ‘undesirable’. They could be repetitive anxious thoughts or thoughts of worry, doubt or negativity. So what can you do get rid of them?
- Start with making friends with negative thoughts
“If you keep resisting negative thoughts, and try to push them away, then they will chase you. Shake hands with your negative thoughts. Tell them, ‘Come here and sit with me. I will not leave you’, and you will see how they quickly disappear. Thoughts are scared of you!” shares Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the International Association For Human Values and a global humanitarian and spiritual master, on one of the most widely read spiritual blogs.
- Check your bowel movement
Being bombarded with too many negative or unpleasant thoughts could also have something to do with poor bowel movement. You can go for a session of deep colon cleansing (Shankh Prakshalan) with an Ayurveda doctor.
- Become a witness to your thoughts
It is impossible to stop or preempt a thought. It is worth observing that when a thought arises, it also disappears immediately. “If you are a witness to the thought, it simply drifts away and vanishes. But if you hold on to it and chew on it, then it stays with you. Thoughts come and go, but that which is the basis of thoughts – is the atma (soul). And that is what you are. You are like the sky, and thoughts are like clouds. This could be the best example one can give. Clouds come and go in the sky, but can they disturb or limit the vastness of the sky in any way? No, not at all,” shares Sri Sri.
- Know you are not your thoughts
Seers and spiritual masters have emphasized this truth since time immemorial for seekers to be aware of in the study of mind. “We do not have to attach ourselves to the thoughts. That is foolishness. Whether they are good thoughts, or bad thoughts – they come and go. You are far above and beyond all this. This is called the Vihangam Maarg – it means rising above thoughts and seeing that you have nothing to do with these moving thoughts,” Gurudev says.
A fundamental principle to be understood about handling mind is that there is no such thing as mind control. Just telling or forcing affirmations on yourself cannot help you get rid of negative thoughts. It simply becomes an exercise in carrying more mental burden without learning the right techniques to calm your mind. Otherwise, the thoughts recur and can be quite frustrating.
One of the most powerful techniques to let the intensity of thoughts recede is participating in chanting or listening to it. Scientific American published a study that found that memorizing ancient Sanskrit Mantras increase the size of the brain regions associated with cognitive function. Another recent study showed that people who chant/ listen to chants became more cheerful and calmer by the end of the study.
According to Sri Sri, “A mantra is that which is brought to mind again and again.” He further says, “And to practice this mind and the mantra should not be separate. The mind should become the mantra. If the mind thinks of something else while chanting the mantra, the mantra will not be effective. The mind should be filled with the mantra. The moment that happens, the mind is free from worry.”
The power of every mantra can be felt in the form of vibrations. “When an atom explodes, the impact area is not limited to a physical space of few kilometers. The effects remain for many years – all this from the explosion of an atom! The mind is a thousand times subtler than an atom. Imagine the power of the mind when it becomes quiet. When the mind becomes quiet again and again, this is called mantra. Mantra is the cure for the mind,” says Sri Sri.
It is only with the help of a tool as powerful as a mantra that the mind loses its smallness and becomes vast; the mind that is dissatisfied becomes content; and the mind that is constantly disturbed by desires is released from them and finds fulfillment, according to Sri Sri
About Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or Gurudev as he is reverently called, is an international humanitarian leader and a spiritual master who is the global rallying voice of this generation’s collective call for peace.
Named one of the “Seven Most Powerful People in India,” by Forbes, his world-renowned meditation techniques helped end the 60-year conflict in Colombia. He has been credited with bringing opposing parties together to facilitate meditation and peace talks in Iraq, Cote d’Ivoire and India.
Founder of the Art of Living Foundation and International Association for Human Values, Sri Sri is leading the way toward peace and tolerance through meditation and humanitarian efforts. Over 35 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in over 150 countries.
“Sudarshan Kriya,” the meditation technique introduced by Sri Sri is backed by research and implemented in schools, corporations, prisons, refugee camps and retreat centers around the world. As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri has rekindled traditions of yoga and meditation that have helped millions of people achieve personal and social transformation by relieving stress and discovering inner peace in daily life.
If you want to live and experience what peace is, even if for a few minutes in your day, here is a short guided meditation led by Gurudev, for just the right start of your day or may be the mid-day boost of Prana (life force) that you need for your day.