Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Mental Prison That Threatens to Destroy

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” –Bob Marley.

I used to live in a world of occasional mental torture. Sure, it would ebb and flow and I didn’t always feel troubled, but the black dog of misery would haunt me and I’d get trapped in a flurry of fear with looped negative and destructive thought patterns saturating my mind and these would inform, and influence, the feelings of my heart—then I’d act in accord with my negative, often erroneous thoughts and feelings. Negative self-talk has a lot to answer for!

The quote from the master musician is such a soothing truth if we can just learn to accept it. We can only really inevitably hurt ourselves by our errant thoughts; oh, and the others around us too, especially our loved ones!

We live in a world where our insecurities are magnified and it seems at times that people and situations are simply there conspiring against us, inspite of us... as if? The reality is this is not the case, really. People don’t think in ways to trip us up or make things awkward for us, well, not as much as we might often think in any event.

Our minds make attributions of our experience, and we can’t help the initial impressions. But, what we can help is our subsequent thoughts which project onto our feelings which then cause us to act in certain ways.

We must learn (i.e. teach ourselves) to watch for assumptive thoughts based on flimsy evidence i.e. things our own minds make up.

We need to be disciplined in checking our assumptions against established fact.

When we finally do this we find that the world is not half as scary as it once seemed, because we find out that most people, at worst, have simply a neutral attitude toward us. In this we find a sense of mental, emotional and spiritual freedom.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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