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A Secret Weapon against a World of Negativity

07 Oct

All day…every day, we are bombarded by negativity from the press, on television, online and in print. We meet negative people everywhere, and read never-ending, mean comments from internet trolls. How do we rise above it all? How do we manage our anxiety, depressive thoughts and our blood pressure in a world filled with horrible news, bad behavior and pessimistic talk? And how do we create positive, productive days in a world of ‘glass-half-empties’?

When I was a child, my mother would help me come up with my own ‘positive thoughts’, and then have me repeat them to myself quietly. Now (and likely then) we call them ‘affirmations’.  It used to aggravate me sometimes, but I’ll be darned if she wasn’t right most of the time – I did feel better after a while.

Fast forward quite a bit to the present time, and I look around my office, where I am lucky to be surrounded by the works of some of the most wonderful authors of affirmations in the world.  I’m never surprised when a customer or client tells me (often sheepishly) that they only listen to the affirmation tracks on our audios. There’s sound logic behind this.

You see, for me, this evolution of ‘positive thoughts’, as my mother called them, passed into standard, familiar affirmations, and has now manifested itself in my keen interest in the concept of loving kindness or metta meditation.  It begins with benevolent, positive affirmations of love and acceptance about oneself.  And for me, and I suppose most, this is the hardest part of the practice.  It seems it’s easier to feel shame, unworthiness or remorse for things not done, rather than to love ourselves.  From there, the loving kindness meditation branches out to one’s loved ones, then one’s friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally, toward all living things and the world at large.

It’s truly simple, but powerful – and masters of the practice have devoted a huge part of their lives to spreading its worth.  I became hooked on the power of metta about four years ago when I began working here.  We had just begun carrying an audio entitled Road Sage by Sylvia Boorstein.  It’s meant to be listened to in your car, and I snatched up a copy to listen to ‘later’.  Well, as things sometimes do, sooner came rather than later as I was experiencing a particularly painful drive one morning.  I commute with my husband, and am often in the car upwards of 2 hours at a time when traffic becomes especially congested.  On this morning, I was in full melt-down mode.  I was driving, and my poor spouse was at a loss on how to calm his agitated partner.  Suddenly, he remembered the unopened audio sitting in the glovebox, tore open its packaging and immediately set it to play.  This wonderful voice emanated through my car speakers and Sylvia slowly began to talk me off the proverbial ledge.  She said things like, “May you feel safe. May you feel content. May you feel strong. May you be at ease.”  She helped me think about the strangers in those cars, about other people in my life that I care about, and the world at large. And soon, I was calm, and spreading goodwill to all through this simple meditation.

I was astounded at how quickly it descended onto my tense shoulders, white knuckles and angry, racing thoughts.  From then on, I began learning all I could about metta.  I listened to more of Dr. Boorstein, as well as her friends Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield.  I knew of the great master, Thich Nhat Hanh, and began to read and watch everything I could from him.

So, when I remember to practice, loving kindness has become my secret weapon of choice, for all the times when life gets a bit rough. I remind myself that reciting these mantras and blessings does not mean that I feel love at the exclusion of the other emotions, whether they be fear, anger, frustration, etc. But, that to practice metta, I’m trying to envelop all of those valid, important emotions in a robe of these calming thoughts and blessings.

If you haven’t tried it, or would simply like more of this specific type of meditation, I highly recommend the following:

I would love to hear how you guard yourself from being dragged down in a negative world. Please comment below!  In the meantime, may you be well, may you be happy, may you be at peace, may you be at ease, may you be healthy.

Namaste,
Elizabeth.

Elizabeth

Health Journeys Professional Relationships Manager

Elizabeth is in her ninth year at Health Journeys, and manages our professional accounts. She works with our hospitals, therapists and others to bring them the resources they need, at great prices. She also is the project manager for most of the private-labeling of our CDs with large accounts, as well as our liason with those professionals who need our materials for events. Call her today and discover just how she can help you in your work. 1-800-800-8661