‘At the most basic level, meditation is simply about thinking thoughts, then letting go of them,’ says Suze Yalof Schwartz, founder of Unplug Meditation. ‘It’s about learning to distinguish between thoughts that serve us and thoughts that don’t.’
How can you let go of negative thoughts with mindful meditation?
Very often it seems to be the thoughts that don’t serve us that are the most persistent. They form patterns that we have become used to over many years. They may have become limiting for us now, but they weren’t always so.
As you grew up you faced challenges, and learned how to adapt to your life. Perhaps you kept small and quiet because you wanted to protect yourself from perceived danger. You remain small and quiet today, telling yourself that it’s just your way.
Perhaps you used anger to push for change when you were surrounded by unfairness. Today you continue to feel angry and you feel you have no control over this.
Negative thoughts are persistent
Your life changes, but those patterns of behaviour and thoughts persist. You take them for granted as part of your personality.
What you say, how you behave and what you do in your life, is usually based on deep belief patterns you’ve developed about yourself over a lifetime. Yet when you experience mindfulness meditation this becomes a tool for change.
Release with ease
When you experience mindful meditation, you can start to witness the negative patterns and increase your awareness of them. You start to realise that it’s time to let go of some of these negative persistent patterns.
Surrender gently to what you experience, and quietly be with whatever you find. Like autumn leaves or ripe apples, both falling exactly when they’re ready, there is no forcing, no pushing. Release with ease.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Give yourself time
Give yourself time for this on a daily basis. Notice what your negative inner critic is saying to you about you!
‘I’ve made a mess of this, but of course, I always do’
‘I’m not as good as ……….’
‘I’ve always been useless at ……..’
Sit down and write up some of the negative things you say to yourself,. You might be overwhelmed at how frequently they arise and how you identify with them. If you read them to yourself in the cold light of day, some of them can seem quite harsh!
And are they really true?
There might be whole areas of your life that you have written off – such as feeling that you are a failure at work or in relationships. These beliefs can have a profound effect on you and your life.
As you sit each day with mindful awareness your experience may start to shift.
Christiane Wolf describes ‘fierce kindness’ as the best approach to dealing with pain, both emotional and physical. Berating yourself for not being the person you’d like to be is not going to work.
Self-compassion and kindness towards yourself create the most effective approach. With regular mindfulness meditation, you are building the qualities of strength and trust in your own self.
This is reiterated by Tara Brach who talks about being ‘gentle, soft and compassionate to your vulnerable self’ as you experience challenging times or as you address deep-rooted negative beliefs.
It can be tough, as you may be so used to a certain way of existence, that to do anything differently is out of your comfort zone. Sometimes things have to change, you need to let go of something. Then only as you look back at it, you realise how much this was necessary.
Include a phrase in your practice, where you say to yourself:
‘I now release with ease all old negative beliefs.’
Be willing and open, and you can begin to feel a loosening of those tenacious negative thoughts. Replace them with possibilities and positive reminders:
‘May I feel safe’
‘May I feel loved’
‘I am thankful for …’
‘I am glad of ….’
Let go …
With greater awareness you can learn to bring a gentle mindfulness to your daily experiences.
Little by little, this willingness to develop and grow your mindfulness will expand. You realise a shift in your thinking shows up in the words you use and the choices you find yourself making. So negative become positive.
This is beautifully described by Rachel Macy Stafford as she realised that her daily negative reactions as a parent and wife, had become so toxic that she knew it was time for her to change.
Are you ready to let go of negative thoughts or behaviours? Elisha Goldstein talks about Four Steps to Freedom from Negative Thinking which you may also find useful to read.
Do share this post with others if you’ve found it helpful.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach