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Negative Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions

BY PHILLIP WITTMEYER

Perhaps the best place to begin to focus your self-observation is on your negative emotions. It is relatively easy to catch yourself in these states you feel bad. No doubt you already know what your primary negative emotions are. Do you have a problem with anger or irritability or envy or shyness or jealousy or defensiveness or getting upset or worry or whatever? Perhaps it is time to realize that there is no valid justification for a negative emotion. The practice of mentally stepping back and noticing the negative emotion will begin to diminish it. How can it continue if you no longer give it energy by taking it seriously, by being attached to it, by justifying it, by identifying with it? In a few months of self-observation you can reduce your experience of negative emotions to minor and brief inconveniences. Only once in a while might you still get lost in some extreme or traumatic situation. This will leave your Emotional Center with energy to experience the positive emotions clearly and fully.

The same procedure applies to negative thoughts, but it may not be as easy to catch yourself in them. They slip through without causing you to feel bad, so you may not notice them. Here are a few general categories to watch out for: judging something as "bad", experiencing fantasies, lying to yourself and others, gossip, complaining, idle speculation or theorizing, denigrating people or things, self-justification (making excuses), and over-analyzing.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly because it can directly affect others, is the matter of negative actions. Here are a few categories to watch out for: manipulation, unresponsiveness, procrastination, impatience, not finishing projects, mindless habits, and wasted energy.

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Phil Wittmeyer is a longtime Michael student and scholar of the teachings.  He can be reached at: wittmeyer@hotmail.com

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