how the quality of your thoughts affects the quality of your life

Today we ask that you pay attention to the connection between your thoughts, and your well-being.

How you feel in any given moment is very connected to the quality of the thoughts you are thinking.

Attack thoughts, whether directed toward the self or others, will always degrade your well-being.

Attack thoughts are thoughts that involve judgment, shame, and blame, either directed toward the self or others.  

Attack thoughts are thoughts like: “I’m so stupid!”  “That guy’s a jerk.”  “That woman’s dressed like a tramp.”  “I’m too fat.”  “Whoever made this movie should be ashamed of himself.”  

Attack thoughts are also defensive.  This can include: “I really have to be on my guard around that guy.”  “You just can’t trust those people.”

For many people, thinking attack thoughts is synonymous with thinking itself.  

Of course, it is entirely possible to think without judgment and attack.  This is called “observational thinking.”  One merely observes what happens, without judgment.  It is a very calm, scientific way of thinking.  Out of observational thinking arises feelings of neutrality and equanimity.

Observational thoughts are thoughts like: “The sky is blue.”  “The woman across the room has curly hair.”  “This wall has peeling paint; I’d like to have it repainted.”  “In order to do this yoga pose, I need to balance on one leg.”  

There are no judgments with observational thoughts.  You are not shaming or blaming yourself or anyone else with these thoughts.

If the majority of your thinking is observational, you will think far more clearly and lucidly and feel better than most humans.

The thinking most conducive to well-being is compassionate, appreciative and loving thinking.  This is when the thoughts directed toward the self and others are loving and appreciative.  You think loving and appreciative thoughts about the self, others, and reality.  You love and appreciate life.

Loving thoughts are thoughts like: “I look beautiful today.”  “I love this dog so much.”  “What an amazing world we live in.”  “Isn’t it wonderful, how all those talented people came together to make this TV show?”  

Anyone whose thoughts are primarily loving lives in a state of joy, and profound well-being.

The way you think is learned, and habitual.

Thinking attack thoughts all the time is just a habit.  It’s no wonder you learned this habit, since most people do it.  But then most people have a lot of unhealthy habits.  Just because a lot of people do something doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

It is very possible to train yourself to become more observational and loving in your thinking.

Meditation is a classic technique for cultivating an observational mind.  As you sit in meditation, you learn to observe your thoughts as they arise, without judging them.

It is also good to learn to pay attention to the quality of your thoughts.  Label any judging, shaming thought that arises as an “attack thought.”  “Oh, there it goes again — I’m thinking an attack thought.”  Don’t attack yourself for thinking attack thoughts!  That’s just another attack thought.   Observe that it happens, and be loving and compassionate with yourself when it happens.  

You will begin to notice a direct correlation between frequent “attack thoughts” and feelings of unease and disease.

You cannot control external reality.  However, you can master your thought patterns.  It is possible to shift your thinking out of attack/defense mode, into observational and loving modes, at will.  It is not easy, but practice makes it easier.

Just believing that there is a correlation between attacking, shaming thoughts directed at the self or others, and anxiety, depression, and illness, is a major step on the path toward healing.