All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha
Imagine your mind as a garden. Positive thoughts are the beautiful flowers that brighten your life. Negative thoughts are the ugly weeds that spread and suffocate your happiness, by cutting off sunlight. Just like plants we need sunlight to thrive.
Negative thoughts can take the form of fear, self-doubt, guilt, anger, blame, insecurity, prophesying or any thought that makes you feel bad!
We need to kill the ANTS :(Automatic Negative Thoughts)
Fear – defined as false events appearing real, is the number one reason that we don’t achieve success in this life. Fear of the unknown, that feeling of uncertainty. Our minds spin tales of past events when we failed or of someone we knew who failed. One way to Kill this ANT is to imagine what is the worst that could happen. If you hate your job and are afraid to leave for fear that you would be able to find another job that pays as much or more than you are making now; talk back to this fear and say that you are skilled and you would so get another job. If the worst that could happen is that you run out of money and can’t eat or become homeless; then you plan ahead and either find another job before you quit or acquire the necessary skills to get the job you want. Doing nothing because you are afraid should never be an option. There is also a positive side to this ANT.
If you are afraid of losing something be it your spouse, your job, your home; it tells you that these things are important to you and that you should do the necessary due diligence to keep them. For example if you fear losing your spouse, then you should work on keeping the marriage fresh, you should keep yourself attractive and don’t let yourself get to 300 lbs and you should serve your spouse and make them feel special.
Self-doubt – or lack of confidence is a very powerful ANT. One of the most essential character traits to have is confidence. It is sexy and it allows you to command attention. When this ANT is telling you that you are not good enough, you will not get that promotion because you don’t have a degree for example; talk back and tell it that you are the best person for this job and that it is their loss if they don’t hire you. If you don’t, you will never move from where you are today. You will never be an over achiever or the top sales person on a team! You need self-confidence to achieve success.
Guilt – guilt is a result of your conscience telling you that you have violated your own core value. It is telling you that you did something that is moving you away from your predetermined goal. You can talk back to this ANT by telling yourself that you recognize your mistake and that you have forgiven yourself. Don’t let the guilt and shame arrest you and keep you in bondage.
Anger – Anger ANTS keep telling you that someone had no right to do something. The more you think about it, the angrier you get. Psychologists say that anger is like an iceberg, what you see is just the tip but there is more ice for miles below the surface. If you are conscious you have an Anger Management problem, then you should understand (with the help of a Therapist) what is causing your anger. You can talk back to this ANT and tell it that you cannot control what someone else does; the only person you can control is yourself.
Blame – this ANT can be very destructive. When you blame others for the results you are having in your life, you assume the role of the victim. As the victim, you have no power to facilitate change. You talk back to this ANT by becoming a player. As a player you take back control. Regardless of what the dealer is showing, you can still win! You are not the product of your circumstances. Everybody has a story, it is how you handle adversity and challenges that define and grow you.
Prophesying – the prophesying ANT talks to you about what it knows about the future! It tells you things like “you are never going to close that sale”. “The customer is going to string you along and they will never buy” or “it is never going to work out”. You can talk back to this ANT by declaring that you cannot predict the future. You do not have a crystal ball!
My Automatic Negative Thoughts generally take the form of conversations. These ANTS usually starts crawling when I get a trigger. You know what happens when you step on an Ants nest? The Ants all run out at the same and start attacking, they bite! Tony Robbins teaches about anchors and how to replace the negative ones with positive ones. If you have this problem you should check out his book “The Power Within”. The way I handle these ANTs is by shaking my head when I become conscious that they are crawling around. I physically shake my head like I am trying to shake them off me, then I bring my attention to my breathing for a few minutes. If they come back again and they usually do, I download them in my journal and that usually takes care of the problem for me.
I tend the Garden of my mind by becoming Conscious of the thoughts that make me feel bad!
Positive thoughts on the other hand are like flowers, they beautify your gardens and bring smiles to anyone who stops and pays attention to their beauty; in a similar way positive thoughts make you beautiful to anyone who you have interpersonal relations with. But the beauty of positive thoughts is that they make you feel good. It is not only sex that makes you feel good!
Tending to the garden of your mind is an ongoing process.
I’ve seen firsthand how dangerous it is to let the weeds of negative thinking take over your mind and just like in your natural garden the weeds thrive more than the flowers or plants. In a similar way when you allow the ANTS to run free in your head; they snuff all the joy out of your life. All you see is darkness, because they are blocking the sunlight from getting in! Let’s look at a garden metaphor to bring an awareness of what happens when weeds take over a garden. Left alone the weeds flourish, creating a dark, tangled mess.
This morning I stepped outside and noticed one of the largest weeds I have ever seen. I didn’t notice it before because it looked like a tree. It had a trunk, and was taller than the other flowers. I thought to myself; how on earth could a weed grow so strong and big? The answer is simple: their purpose is to take the nutrients from the plants, so they get big when your plants become weak and die.
So it is too with your mind: An unattended mind can create havoc for you because your mind is amazingly receptive to whatever suggestions may be dropped into it. It has been said that the subconscious mind cannot take a joke. This simply means that whatever belief is introduced to it, it takes seriously as an instruction to grow that thought-seed into a full-blown plant–be it a rose or a weed, and it can’t tell the difference.
When you stop and consider how many thought-seeds are purposefully planted in your mind on a daily basis, it may cause you to tend to your mental garden with a bit more regularity. This is in addition to all the seeds that were planted in your mind unconsciously. As you listen to the radio, watch TV or even sit in a restaurant where others are talking, your mind hears it ALL, irrespective of whether you are conscious of it or not. Given what’s going on in our world today with all of the talk that comes from fear and anger, this is a vital point to grasp. Even when you engage in gossip or negative conversation with or about others, your subconscious mind hears it all. Be careful of the seeds you let in.
A mind expanded with an implanted thought cannot be returned back to its original form. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in this complicated movie called “inception”, the implantation of another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious.[Hollywood understands this concept. The only way to avoid this type of mind pollution is to be consciously focused on positive activities and limit news and gossip.
There are some companies that have a zero tolerance for gossip. They treat it like a cancer and remove the gossiper immediately.
The action you and I need to take is clear isn’t it? It has been proven that the human mind thinks thousands of thoughts a day. Instead of planting a mixed bag of thousands of various seeds, from fearful to simply confused and unfocused thought-seeds, which will require a full time gardener to pull up the weeds, why not specialize in planting one or two types of seed? Plant thought-seeds about yourself and others that are rooted in reverence and loving-kindness.
Plant seeds that focus on God’s Presence at the center and circumference of all you say think and do, at work, home, or play.
Be mindful…be skillful in the seeds you plant and how you nurture them. Your life is your garden; keep the weeds out because that is one way in which you can personally beautify our world. You owe that much to yourself and to those who receive the benefit of the seeds you plant along the way.