Let’s say you smoke ten cigarettes in one day. Doesn’t seem like much, but if I took all of the smoke that those cigarettes would create in an entire year, and if I put that concentration of smoke inside a glass room and asked you stand in there for twenty minutes, there’s no way you would do it. It would finally look as suicidal as it is. Well thinking’s a lot like that too.
When you’re sitting and talking with others it won’t really be visible but your conversation will be generating karma. If you talk about depressing things you will create negative karma. If you discuss more loving ideas the resulting karma will be positive. Gossip is inherently negative. Sitting around discussing what you don’t like about someone or something is like spraying poison in the air while you’re talking. It’s that unhealthy for your psychology. There is no way to think negative, judgmental, hurtful or derisive thoughts about anyone without you the thinker actually experiencing those feelings. It’s also why you’re so hard on yourself. You spend all day practicing on everyone else. Being critical is most of what you know how to do.
Start paying attention to your “psychological air.” Really listen to yourself—not for the words or details—just listen for the tone. Is it mean? Is it pushing someone down or undermining them? Is it a complaint about reality? About how things are? If it is you’re just poisoning yourself. It’s time you psychologically grew up and started taking responsibility for the thoughts you’re generating. They’re yours after all. No one can make you think anything except you.
So don’t be kind to others for their sake, be kind to others for your own sake. Because kindness, compassion and understanding are like clean, fresh air being pumped into your life and you will obviously feel a lot better if you’re exposing yourself to clean, healthy psychology.
Be mindful of where your thoughts are and consciously direct them. Do the same with your choice of companions and conversation. Be a leader among your friends. Be someone who leads conversation to healthier territory. These are the moments of your life so steer as many as possible to things that feel good. It’s that easy, and it works immediately. Which choice will you make?
Following a childhood accident should have left him dead, Scott McPherson spent his life meditating on thought, consciousness, reality and the self. Seeing the emotional damage done by ego-based overthinking he began dedicating a part of his life to guiding students toward more peaceful and rewarding lives. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, Canada.