Don't Get Hooked!

My goal is to spend as much time living in balance as possible. Being that we are human and have ego’s that feed us fear based thoughts we all get thrown off from time to time. What I have learned that helps is to have a “Default Thought” when we feel ourselves begin to slide emotionally. A default thought is a thought we can  immediately go to when something causes us to slide out of balance emotionally.

It can be a place in the past, present, future or even a made up place. We imagine that place when anything throws us emotionally. It will help us to disassociate from the situation causing us stress and bring us back to balance.

Buddism teaches us that when something happens in our experience, we need not let it “hook us,” to pull us in, to get lost in it feeling like we can’t get out.  When it “hooks us,” we begin to slide down the emotional scale, drowning with the emotion. We then reach for something to pull us out like food, alcohol, tv to numb our pain. We can accomplish the same relief in a positive way when we pull in our default thought.

Research has shown that a human emotion lasts only 1.5 minutes and it’s released. If we are feeling anything after 1.5 minutes, we are choosing to hold it unto ourselves.

Many people ask me how to let go of thoughts or emotions that are painful. This is one way to do this. It’s not as much about us letting them go or pushing them away it’s about changing our minds and focusing on something else. Then our distressing thought fades.

I have a friend who works as a teacher in a very rough inner city high school with gangs and lots of daily fighting. It is extremely difficult for my friend to pull herself out of bed and go to school everyday as every day is a challenge. I told her she only has 2 more months left but those 2 months feel like 10 years to her. I asked her if there was ever a time this year when she had a rewarding experience, one that made her smile and made her feel really great inside. She said yes, however there were just a few. I asked her to to focus on just one experience and how great it made her feel and when her thoughts guided her down a path of hating her job and couldn't bare the thought of another day etc. I told her to force herself to think of that one experience that made her feel good (her new default thought). By doing this, the vibration of her being will shift into another emotional place, a new, balanced, peaceful and maybe even happy place.

Spend some time finding your default thought. It could be anything that evokes a feeling of peace, joy and/or happiness. It could be the day you met your true love, the birth of your child, a favorite place, a spot in nature, the ocean, a beautiful field of flowers, a tree where you used to sit under as a kid, laying in your bed. It could be anything.

After you find your default thought, practice “going there” even when you are not feeling emotionally out of balance. Then when you feel yourself slip and need to regain balance, quickly pull up your default thought. Close your eyes and be in your default thought. Spend as much time as you need in that thought. Tune into your body and notice if there is any tension left. If there is, sit longer, if not then continue on with your day. It will change your emotional state to that of more peace. Who doesn’t want to live with that?