The key to freeing yourself from negative thoughts really lies in understanding who you are and what makes your mind work the way it does.
I believe we are all inherently curious and as human beings, we all have the desire to ‘know’ ourselves. Sometimes that desire comes from simply wanting to be happy, to have peace in ourselves. Sometimes, your mind starts to become such an unfriendly place to be in that you can no longer tolerate it. Sometimes, you find yourself in the same negative thought/ behaviour pattern again and again that life simply demands that you change something inside.
Self discovery is the key to freeing yourself from negative thoughts. Its the journey to understand who we are, to make sense of our experiences, to understand our beliefs, attachment, behavioural patterns. Sometimes to unlearn a view point that is not true anymore or doesn’t serve us anymore. Sometimes to adopt something new. Start a new pattern of behaviour. I see it as a dance of shedding layers while at the same time becoming ‘more’ than what we were before. Learning what makes me ‘me’ 🙂
To understand who we are can be a life long journey, and to take this first step- I believe that we must first have a separation. An awareness that ‘who I am’ is separate from the ‘thoughts’ I think and the ‘beliefs’ I have. Without the separation, we always remain stuck in the ‘default reaction’ dictated by our thoughts, beliefs and emotions.
A lot of what meditation and Eastern Philosophies guide towards is to get to a place of ‘watching your thoughts’ and letting them ‘pass through’. This might be something you already knew but if you weren’t quite sure how to actually do it- here’s a great video by Michael Singer who explains this concept of ‘The Observer’. The awareness that is outside of the mind and is able to simply watch/observe our thoughts instead of reacting by default.
When we can separate ourselves from the thoughts our minds think, we get to see the bigger picture and the intricacies of how the mind works. When we can get to the awareness that we have a choice to observe instead of reacting, it can feel so freeing! I can choose to observe that:
There is anger/sadness, instead of simply being angry/sad/.
My ‘default reactions’ are just triggered by certain beliefs. That is not my essence.
Beliefs aren’t always true.
I have a choice to see beyond those beliefs. To know that ‘Who I am’ is outside of my beliefs.
I am the awareness that has the capacity to observe these beliefs and thoughts, and I have the choice to change them if I want.
For me, the first step to free yourself from negative thoughts- it is this. To be conscious of this awareness that lies outside of the mind. To recognise that when we are in this awareness, we are open to make choices that are not available to us whenever we are attached in the mind. That this is a much freer way to live, a path with more ‘ease’, that this feels like coming home, coming back to ‘us’.
The first step.