Hello! If you haven’t already set your intention to enjoy the day you’ll feel even better after you do. I also want to take a moment to remind everyone how we can get the most use out of these daily meditations on gratitude.
When we’re lost in bouts of ego-based suffering we are always talking to ourselves. We’ll tell ourselves a story that makes us sad, or angry or victimized. Even though these stories may be true, and even though they may be justified, it generally does our mental health no good to repeatedly revisit them.
Our futures are decided less by what’s happened and more by what we decide to do going forward. So, each day, rather than unconsciously slipping into common cycles of negative self-talk, we can make our ruminations conscious.
Once we are more aware of where our minds are at, we can then use our negative thoughts and the feelings that go with them, as triggers to help remind us to shift away from the rumination and towards today’s meditation.
So, for example, maybe we routinely to think about how hopeless our future is when we ride transit to work. Or maybe every day in the shower we spend the entire time thinking about how no one will ever love us. Or maybe we worry endlessly about our financial future while we lay in bed keeping ourselves awake.
Those are all thoughts many people are likely to entertain. But, as we know, thinking about those things generally doesn’t change them. They’re compelling thoughts, but they’re not mandatory.
On the other hand, thinking about other, more positive things instead, can deliver far better feelings. In turn that improves our perspective to the point where it can allow us to recognize and act on more of our opportunities.
To do this, first we must accept our negative thoughts are appropriate. Having acknowledged them as logical, we can then use more good sense to enact a shift in our minds where we stop the ruminating in favour of doing an active search for some existing value in our lives.
For today’s meditation, accept that many of our painful thoughts make sense. Knowing that, we can then consider it a victory every time we catch ourselves thinking negatively.
Having caught the thoughts, we are free to convert those negative rumination periods into periods of gratitude. We can even feel grateful for the fact that we grabbed our opportunity to be grateful.
Rather than add to the legitimate negativity by thinking angry or disappointed thoughts, we should simply use our recognition of our bad feelings to trigger us to focus on something we’re genuinely grateful for.
Just because negative things are real does not mean they block positive things from our view. If a negative thing can improve through action then we have a way to help ourselves feel better.
That said, if there is nothing we can change outside of us, then changing our focus to something we’re grateful for is still our best bet at a finding immediate peace. We can experience wanting and rumination, or we can know satisfaction and gratitude. It all depends on how well we do at this meditation today.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.