• Quote of the Day
    "The voice of negativity says, 'Get real'. The voice of possibility says 'Get started'."
    Donna Satchell, posted by littlerabbit

David Baxter

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The Four Questions to Rid Automatic Negative Thoughts
by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
August 9, 2011

In past postings I talked about the power of thoughts and how convincing they can seem in times when our emotions are high. When we’re depressed, automatic negative thoughts such as “This is hopeless,” or “I’ll never get this right,” or “what’s the point” are swimming around. If we’re excited, thoughts like, “this is really going to happen,” or “everyone loves me,” or “I feel like I can do no wrong” are prevalent. Thoughts are powerful and it’s worth becoming aware of our minds, understanding that thoughts are not facts and at times, even challenging them.

I was recently reading through a friend and colleague of mine, Steve Flowers’ book The Mindful Path Through Shyness where he cites four helpful questions from Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is to challenge automatic negative thoughts (ANTS).

Here are the four questions to help challenge compelling thoughts:


  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

In doing this practice, you come to understand just how many of our thoughts are simply not true. Yet, these thoughts change the way we see things and how we react in this world.

If our thoughts are going to have that much influence on us, it’s certainly worth checking them out.

However, before you can even make the decision to check them out, you need to become aware of them and step outside of them for a moment.

In other words, Stop, Take a breath, Observe that these thoughts are going on, and Proceed with these four questions. This is using the STOP practice to get to those four questions.

Try this out today…
 

Daniel

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Byron Katie interview with Ray Hemachandra

You say when people start to do The Work, it?s best to do it on paper. Why?

Because the mind is tricky. If you don?t write down your stressful thought, the mind will slip and slide around it. The mind is very clever. It will start defending its sacred concepts. It will qualify and justify and soon you won?t be able to give simple answers to the questions. The mind will outsmart you, so that it can keep all of its concepts intact.

But if you identify the stressful thought that you?re believing and put it on paper, there it is, in black and white. It?s stopped. It?s mind on paper. Your fearful mind never has been stopped before. It?s brought into the world and stabilized in the world?on paper. So, by putting mind on paper, you can put the four questions and the turnaround up against it.

When people do The Work, they need to notice when they begin to justify, defend, or go to a story. When you defend or justify, The Work stops working, because in that moment you?re no longer answering the questions. You?re doing what mankind always has done.

So, I invite people just to notice that and come back to The Work, and simply answer the questions. Be still, and take your time with each one of them. Your life depends on it. Your entire joyful life depends on it.
 

Daniel

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If you tell yourself it’s too hard, then you won’t take it on. But right now, for most people, it’s almost an impossibility to do so, because they’re so attached to “I am what I have”; “I am what I do”; “I am what my reputation is”; or “I am all of this material stuff.”

Getting past that just means having the recognition, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, that you’re not here as a human being having a spiritual experience. It’s the other way around: You’re here as a spiritual being having a temporary human experience...

I think the most common meme is that it’s too difficult to change. It’s too risky to change. My nature doesn’t allow me to change. When you’re thinking that, you’re not understanding what your nature is.

~ Wayne Dyer
 

defect

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The mind is very clever. It will start defending its sacred concepts. It will qualify and justify and soon you won’t be able to give simple answers to the questions. The mind will outsmart you, so that it can keep all of its concepts intact.

Your life depends on it. Your entire joyful life depends on it.

Brilliant! Thank you.
 

defect

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Thank you Daniel, I have downloaded "Do The Work" before onto a different computer and could not remember the name. It is exactly what I want to start with, so I am very happy that you posted the link!
 

Daniel

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A Conversation with Dr. Wayne Dyer

...The fourth question, which is what would my life look like if I couldn’t think this thought?...Everyone has the same conclusion. When I have really pushed them to the limit with that question, the answer is I would be free. I would be free. Perhaps for the first time. I would be free. And being free… what could be any better than that? While there are other questions we could cover, that’s basically the essence. That’s what the paradigm is.
 
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