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The Power of Thoughts

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The Power of Thoughts

by Swami Mukundananda

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What To Expect From This Post

Adi Shankaracharya asked a question in his book, Prashnavali :

'Who shall achieve victory in the world?'

The answer he provided was:

'Those who have conquered their own mind'

In this post we will learn to conquer our mind by knowing—

  1. What is Thought
  2. Why Negative Thoughts Arise
  3. How to Identify Negative Thoughts
  4. Three Step System to Eliminate Negative Thoughts
  5. Discipline Your Thoughts— Pleasure vs Happiness
  6. Benefits of Solitude
  7. Positive 'Chintan'— Train Your Thoughts
  8. The Art of Effective Thinking
  9. Difference between Religion and Spirituality
  10. Four Aspects of Spiritual Thinking

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What Is Thought

Thoughts are far more than the electro-chemical reactions happening in the brain. They are subtle energy forms created by the mind, with or without the assistance of the brain. It is pertinent to mention that not all thoughts require the brain's intercession. There are varieties of thoughts that can be generated by the mind only.

Brain and Mind are not the same thing. Mind's function extends far beyond the gross tangible workings of the brain's neurons. It encompasses the intangible, invisible and transcendent world of feelings, attitudes and beliefs.

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Why Negative Thoughts Arise

1. Overgeneralization: We make a general assumption based on a single incident.

2. Fallacy of Fairness: We feel that life should be fair.

3. Expecting a Catastrophe: We expect the worst to happen.

4. Filtering Out Positives: We take negative details of a situation and make mountains out of them, while forgetting all the positive aspects.

5. Imagined Mind Reading: The thought process where we are sure we know what another person is thinking. And typically, we assume it is something negative about us.

6. Labelling: We observe a particular behaviour by a person and apply a tag.

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How To Identify Negative Thoughts

→ Automatic: They pop into your mind without any effort from your side.

→ Distorted: They do not connect with all the facts. They jump to conclusions.

→ Unproductive: They undermine your motivation, feed bitterness and rob your optimism.

→ Justification: They provide excuses for you to be less than your best.

→ Intrusive: They are disturbing or even vicious, and yet quite difficult to switch off.

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Three Step System To Eliminate Negative Thoughts

1. Dilution— Distance Yourself From The Thought:

Whenever a negative thought pops into the mind, remember that it is not you. Rather than adopting it, you can distance yourself from it.

2. Substitution— Replace a Negative Thought With A Positive Thought:

When unwholesome thoughts contrary to self-discipline and goodness arise in the mind, the reverse thoughts should be practised.

3. Sublimation— Build A Positive Thought System:

Focus building on the thought chain of positive emotions. Cultivate in your mind wholesome ideas of inspiration, optimism, cheerfulness.

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Discipline Your Thoughts— Pleasure Vs Happiness

The more a product gives us a dopamine rush, the more addictive it is. There is momentary gratification followed by regret. The more pleasure we seek, the unhappier we become.

The experience of happiness is very different from pleasure. Physiologically it is attributed not to dopamine but to serotonin. This is not an excitatory chemical but a pacifying one, it does not fire the neurons rather, it calms them down.

Do the opposite of mind's urges. Every time we resist the urge for momentary gratification, we break the mind's control over us.

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Benefits Of Solitude

  1. Helps us to unwind from the clamour and noise of today's busy world.
  2. Stimulates the Parasympathetic System thus relaxes the muscle tension.
  3. Allows our brain to relax. Helps us to calm down our overactive brains.
  4. Promotes body-mind sync. It makes us feel more grounded and in control of ourselves.
  5. Provides an opportunity for perspective. Coming to a standstill helps us step back from hustle bustle and helps us to muse about the bigger picture.
  6. Allows us to plan our life. Quiet space provides us an opportunity to introospect and evaluate where we are in our journey versus where we wish to be.

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Positive 'Chintan'— Train Your Thoughts

In Sanskrit, mental practice is called Chintan. It means 'deep reflective thought'.

Strategies to train your Chintan:-

  1. Think Intentionally: Disregard the programmed response & instead consciously choose your thoughts.
  2. Revise Desirable Thoughts: Push yourself past the complaining mind & practice the contemplative thinking.
  3. Think New Thoughts: Try new ways of thinking.
  4. Feed Your Mind: Feed the mind a good diet of wisdom, inspiration & knowledge.
  5. Physical Exercise: Exercise releases pleasure chemicals that supercharge our thinking.
  6. Spiritual Exercise: Invest time daily in keeping the mind healthy.

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The Art Of Effective Thinking

This includes a huge variety of thought skills.

  • Diffused Thinking: The conscious mind is relaxed, our subconscious gets to work. Often happens while our conscious mind is engaged in some diversion.
  • Focused Thinking: The conscious mind is in deep work to get tangible results.
  • Big Picture Thinking: We explore possibilities and identify opportunities amongst them.
  • Detail Oriented Thinking: Going into details of something to do excellent work.
  • Critical Thinking: Thinking clearly and rationally to understand a matter in depth.
  • Reflective Thinking: Allows us to revisit experiences with fresh eyes.

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Difference Between Religion And Spirituality

Spirituality is the essence while religion is its external form.

— Visit to a sacred place is religion. To sit down in one place and take our mind to the Divine is spirituality.

— To take a bath in the holy Ganga is religion. To bathe our mind in Divine thoughts is spirituality.

— To adorn the body with sacred tilak marks is religion. To adorn our personality with noble and sublime qualities is spirituality.

— To offer oblations of ghee in the sacrificial fire is religion. To offer our obnoxious ego at the feet of God and become humble is spirituality.

Both should be practiced to purify our mind.

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Four Aspects Of Spiritual Thinking

Self Awareness

  • Distinguishing our lower nature from our higher nature.
  • Awareness of the purpose of our life.
  • Awareness of the values we live by.

Universal Awareness

  • Empathy for others.
  • Awareness of the interconnectedness of the universe.
  • Awareness of the Spiritual laws that govern the universe.

Self Mastery

  • Commitment to keeping our higher self in charge.
  • Living according to our values and purpose.
  • Commitment to pursuing our spiritual growth.

Professional Mastery

  • Serving through your professional work.
  • Serving in your personal relationships.
  • Serving through your position of leadership.

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SWAMI MUKUNDANANDA

We are not material beings having a spiritual experience. Rather, we are spiritual beings having a material experience in this world.

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CURATED BY

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❤️I enjoy almost every genre but self help books are love❤️ Primary focus is spiritual upliftment❤️ Bookstagrammer Book Reviewer 📚📚

CURATOR'S NOTE

About 2500 thoughts run through our mind every hour. Even at this moment we are bombarded with them. Imagine their potential healing power if they are joyous and optimistic. This book took an in depth approach to understand our thoughts.