Re-arranging Thoughts

Yesterday afternoon I went to a Jivamukti yoga class. At the studio I attend (the same one where I'm training to be a yoga teacher) each month's Jivamukti classes are centered around a theme. This month's theme is letting go of negative thoughts. We started by chanting one of the verses from the Yoga Sutras (II.33):
vitarka bhadhane pratipaksa bhavanam
When you are disturbed by unwholesome negative thoughts or emotions, cultivate their opposites
Hopefully I got the spelling right. Anyway, this really hit home for me due to my negative spiraling and dwelling lately. Mostly the self-talk running through my brain right now is habit, a default setting it goes to when I am not otherwise occupied. I don't want to think these things; hell, I'm sick to death of thinking them! But still they remain.

Our instructor spoke of mantras we could use, either Sanskrit ones (Om, Shanti) or English ones ("I am Peace", "I am Love"), or even one of our own. I really like this concept, because one of the main reasons I'm still on this feedback loop of annoyingness is that I do nothing to interrupt it, give it no new information. Letting go is a great idea, but it implies that you need to hold on to something. If you don't give your brain something else to grasp, it's just going to keep holding on to the crap. Frankly, a constant stream of "I am Love" sounds a lot more appealing than "You'll never find love."

So, yeah... I'm going to start using this technique every time I find myself digging deeper into negativity. I heard somewhere that it takes at least 15 days to develop a new habit. I'll be happy if I can just replace the old one with something a little more uplifting.


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