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Sunday, June 27, 2010

We Give Too Much Credence to Negative Thinking

Hi Ms. Curtiss,

My name is M______. I'm suffering from depression and anxiety. I had a decent day yesterday, fairly optimistic, and productive. But today feels like the polar opposite. I'm back to feeling very pessimistic about the future.

I know that one of the problems is that I take my thoughts too seriously, but I also feel like my thoughts make logical sense. I know we talked about thoughts that are "helpful" or "unhelpful," but the thought pattern is so strong, that it's hard for me to break out of it. For instance, I've had problems with stamina and ability to handle stress in the past, and now it's happened again. How can I be optimistic that if I continue to keep going (ie with my teacher credential program) that it will succeed, considering there is so much evidence to the contrary that I won’t be successful because of my past failures.That seems logical to me.

Dear M_____

It is not easy to ignore all the nagging thoughts about all the logical reasons why you are going to fail, and refuse to think them. It's not easy to do a few mind exercises and then get busy with your daily chores and refuse to think about your depression. But it can be done. It might take some practice. If you haven't done this before, naturally it will take some effort on your part to concentrate on a chosen exercise or thought of your own and refuse the habitual choice of your mind.

But it's the only way to prosper. Thinking negative and fearful thoughts of your possible failure has no realistic, practical value. Thinking mind exercises and then thinking about what you are doing and refusing to think about what you are feeling will move you forward with your day.

Thinking depressive and fearful thoughts, no matter how realistic they may seem, simply has no practical value. If one is a practical person they do practical things to move them forward with their day. They do not do unproductive things which do not move them forward with their day. Anybody can be depressed. It is the easiest thing in the world. The only thing is, it doesn't move you forward with your day. A. B. Curtiss

Dear Ms. Curtiss,

Thank you for your reply. Do any spiritual teachings guide you in dealing with fearful thoughts and anxiety?

Dear M_____

I have found books by Joel Goldsmith (The Infinite Way) Nisargadotta Maharaj (I Am That) and anything by Rudolf Steiner, anything by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and even Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time, or works by Edgar Cayce and Mary Baker Eddy to be helpful in balancing competing realities. A. B. Curtiss

1 comment:

Ginger said...

A.B., I would like to add for M., that the notion you have presented that there are only two emotions that guide all of our actions-- love and fear, has been enormously helpful to me. I think that is also a spiritual precept which M. may find interesting. It is actually found in John's gospel, that "perfect love casts out fear." We can't love and fear simutaneously.

The way you framed it really helped me understand the scripture verse, and ever since I try to check to see if what I am doing from moment to moment is motivated by a love of something or by the fear of something. I also am trying to identify from which place my emotions spring; from a loving place or a fearful one.

Question: Would you go so far as to say that ALL "negative" "downer" emotions stem from fear, & all "positive" emotions stem from the loving parts of ourselves?

You have said that we "are" love, so it would seem that our truly "logical, realistic" thoughts are actually our positive ones? Our joy and contenment is really authentic, while our "logical" thoughts that are sullen & grim are simply lies we tell ourselves? Am I following you correctly with all this?

Have re-read chapter 10 of Depression/Choice several times lately!