The Curious Scientist
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to get stuck on a negative thought than on a positive one? It isn’t that you really enjoy negative thoughts! It’s due to our amazing brain and it’s negativity bias. Basically, our brains are “a stay as safe as possible machine!” So when our minds offer us negative evaluations, observations and judgements about ourselves, other people and the world; it’s just trying to protect us. Kinda like a hard core sports coach giving you a hard time to get a result. If you get hooked into the offerings of the mind, it tends to drive a whole range of avoidant, vigilant and controlling behaviours…you got it, to stay safe! You can imagine at this point, the mind doing cartwheels “Yahoo! It worked – we’ll keep on using those negative whopper thoughts!” The problem with this is: you get to stay safe maybe, but are you getting to live??? Really live? Really living is not free of risk but it’s full of opportunity, real living is not free of suffering but it’s full of vitality; real living is not free of fear but it’s full of hope. I’m not meaning to belittle suffering and if you’re in a bad situation, i’m definitely not saying that’s something to be tolerating…that’s something that needs professional support and a planet full of love and compassion. What I am saying, is that in every situation, even the worst, it may be possible to relate in a different way to the negative evaluations of our minds. To NOTICE, open up our awareness and then to make a choice – how do I feel about being pushed around by my mind like this? What happens if I follow blindly what my mind tells me to do? Do I end up in repetitive patterns of behaviours that don’t serve me all that well? What do I sacrifice of the kind of life I would really like to be having?
Try this: approach your mind as if you were a curious scientist and as if this negative thought were a brand new discovery to the world, and as a scientist you love to discover new things! First you would look upon the thought and notice it’s form – what it looks like, sounds like, it’s texture, colour and shape. You might notice what it does – is it moving, what’s it’s energy like, what does it want to do next? NOTICE – who’s doing the noticing?
Then next, as a scientist it would be important to name the discovery. So what name are you going to give to this evaluation or story that the mind gives you? It can help if it’s comical – something from the T.V that makes you laugh just to take the sting out of it (these thoughts can be so painful). Each time it shows up you can say “Aha, it’s the “people are not safe to trust” story again! Thanks mind (or whatever name you want to give it): you can hang around if you want to but i’m planning on heading out this afternoon because I really value being able to connect with the people I care about. Give it a go.
Write your responses below….