Every so often, there’s a debate about whether people are able to change, direct, or heal their thoughts. With some mental illnesses and addictions, this idea seems to be challenging, at best. But healing our thoughts is essential to healing ourselves.
We can learn about our thoughts, their power, and our relationship to them from some interesting sources: general meditation techniques, Rebbe Nachman, and the 12-Steps, for starters.
Belief and 12-Steps
In essence, the 12-Steps help you reprogram the way you view the world, the way you view yourself, and the way you understand life. It gives you the thought-tools with which to live your life, consciously, positively. In other words, the 12-Steps guide you on the path to positive-living by helping you reshape your beliefs, which are the sisters of your thoughts. What you believe is always there, alongside your thoughts, supporting them, informing them, and often invisibly directing them.
The 12-Steps themselves are beliefs that, once you inculcate them, have the power to change your thoughts (both consciously and subconsciously).
Imagination and Rebbe Nachman
Imagination is also important since your imagination is comprised of sensation/emotion/visually charged thoughts. The great mystic Rebbe Nachman of Breslov talks a lot about the power of Imagination and how it has the power to drive you to psycho-spiritual heights or the darkest-of-dark lows. Imagination and thoughts are the stories our minds tell us about reality and non-reality, too.
No stranger to serious contemplation and meditation and the workings of the human mind and heart, Rebbe Nachman also teaches about the power of other people’s Imagination and how it affects you! He taught that what you consume via your eyes, ears, and mouth, affects your psycho-spiritual self. In short, what you hear and see actually, over time, influences and molds your thoughts and beliefs and your thoughts and beliefs mold your reality, your experience of life.
Of course, this isn’t news to most of us, that’s what all education is about—teaching is a form of influencing.
But just because something is labeled “educational” or “informational” doesn’t mean that the effect it can have on our thinking is necessarily healthy, supportive, or positive.
We’re surprised how frequently we have to remind ourselves that the news is (almost always) not our personal responsibility. We’ve blogged about taking a break from the news here and here (and mention it a few more times). But today, more than ever, we could use the occasional (or more frequent) break from all types of media and content, informational and educational (not to mention, “entertaining”).
Rebbe Nachman reminds us that taking in too much of other people’s Imagination and ideas (Hollywood directors, video game-makers, bloggers, journalists, experts, etc.) can have an adverse effect: What we consume shapes who we are via our thoughts and beliefs.
Remember, making a movie, reporting on a news story, and even writing a blog are done with both open and hidden motivations (often hidden from the “producer” himself). Whenever you take in someone else’s “stuff” you are touched, for good and sometimes not so good. You imbibe someone else’s vision, which can be wonderful, exhilarating, and simultaneously, not conducive to personal growth. In fact, many times, what we consume can come between ourselves and our personal goals.
Being and Flowing and Meditation
But, when you’re not taking in/consuming, you have a chance to just be. You’ll be able to get in touch with your thoughts as they flow, and to get to know your deepest self. This can be the first step to healing your thoughts. This is the power of basic meditation. Of course, healing your thoughts is a very important part of talk psychotherapy.
We find that getting the chance to experience being and flowing are an important adjunct to therapy. Of course, this is what many types of meditation are all about. But you don’t have to follow a specific type of meditation in order to get to the state of being and flowing. A variety of methods will work. To start the experience, we prefer a non-denominational approach.
In our next post on Healing Your Thoughts we’ll give you some basic, general techniques on “being and flowing” which can help you lay the foundation for “healing your thoughts.”