When I first entered therapy, I saw myself shrunken and powerless in the corner of a dark room filled with scary plastic objects. As time went on, that image changed. It was as if a bright light entered the room and dissolved all those fear-filled dark objects.
I believe that most of our worries, resentments, and pain are merely illusions, or as I call them, “Whispered Lies.” Fear jumps into the driver’s seat of our minds and starts projecting all kinds of problems to be solved. Mark Twain said it this way, “My life is a series of calamities, most of which never happened.”
Just take a moment and observe the content of your thoughts and how they resonate in your body. If you’re anything like me, it quickly becomes clear that we’re scaring the shit out of ourselves. And, just in case we need a little help, there’s always TV and its multitude of disasters (the past, present, and predicted).
It’s no wonder that so many of us live in a constant state of anxiety and tension. The modern term, which I might call a euphemism, is “stress.” This state is so universal, that, if you stopped 20 people on the street, most of them would say they wanted to have less fear and worry in their lives. And, if you really want to be disturbed, read about how stress and worry harm our health.
A Course in Miracles (and many other wisdom traditions) teach us that we can be in only two states of mind: fear or love. When we align ourselves with love, we’re at peace and feel at-one with God (universe, positive power) and with all others. When we’re in fear, however, we close our hearts to others.
Because our bodies are hard-wired to compete for what we see as a limited amount of love, money, and otherworldly goodies, fear is our default setting. But we don’t have to become a victim of our worries and negative thinking. It’s what we do next that matters: Do we seek a different way of seeing our troublesome situations?
It’s a simple choice, but it takes vigilance and practice. Just notice what you’re thinking about and, if it is making you tense, admit that to yourself. Then, gently turn your thoughts to something that gives you joy and peace. It might be a scene of nature, a prayer, or an affirmation. Then keep an eye out for when you revert to the “worry and fear channel.” Again, just notice what you’re thinking about and change it to something more positive or inspiring.
Emmet Fox gives directions for the “Golden Key” here. He wrote that when you consistently turn your thoughts away from fear and toward a source of positive power, whatever was bothering you before will be resolved. Try it, you’ll like it!
Gigi Langer is a former “queen of worry.” She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now! Coming out in February 2018, the new book contains 50 powerful tips to defeat negative thinking, find inner peace, and be happy. Gigi has a PhD from Stanford University.