Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Your Mental Garden

Resentment is an ugly thing
It crowds the roses out;
Keep your mental garden fair
Put harmful things to rout.

Seed-thoughts that you cultivate
Within your fertile mind,
Bring forth varied blossoms
According to their kind.

Anger, malice, worry, fear,
Are noxious mental seeds;
Quickly rid your mind of them
Before they choke as weeds.

Faith, gentleness, humility,
Truth patience, selfless love,
Are specimens of seedlings rare,
Approved of God above.

Your mental garden is a place
In which you daily dwell;
Let nothing ugly flourish there,
Safeguard and tend it well.

-"Your Mental Garden" poem by: Grenville Kleiser

My own thoughts have proven to be a huge challenge.  I have cultivated good seed-thoughts.  I have also allowed some like "I'm unloveable" to continue choking out the loving thoughts.  I have had mixed results trying to ignore ugly thoughts.

Thoughts are a mixture of half-baked ideas, dreams, desires, emotions, fears, memories, perceptions (both true and false), and temptations.

The most powerful negative thoughts put me into a deep depression where I hide in bed under the covers and try to close out everything while I try to deal with them.

The most powerful positive ones can keep me up at night because my mind is on a high jet stream and doesn't want to come down to Earth.

I'm going to identify dreams as the imagined bliss of some future scenario that we tend to wander over to for pleasure.  I think it is important to make a bucket list or a pinterest board of dreams so that they don't sink to the bottom of our consciousness.  Hope comes out of dreams so we need them to keep hope alive.

Half-baked ideas are the goals and plans we have that still require organization and analysis before we can act.  These can relate to anything from a upcoming vacation to the purchase of a new home.  I have found that my fears can get in the way of these plans but if I persist I can usually find a way.

Perceptions of myself and of the way others see me are really tricky.  I use my ability to perceive in lots of social situations and then assume that others don't love me.  I will be honest, this is an ongoing challenge because my fears cloud my perception.  I think that controlling these kinds of false perceptions is more difficult because I don't see the truth very easily.  One book, The Journey From Heartbreak to Connection, helped me to see the spiral of my negative thoughts with the acronym S.W.I.R.L.  Knowing what is happening gives me a tool to rout the thought but I don't always use it effectively.

Memories can be both good and bad.  I remember emotions better than factual details.  The negative emotions get ten times amplified.  This is compounded when I only think about the negative and forget the good times.  I have benefited by looking through my scrapbooks because I generally only take pictures during good times so a scrapbook is generally positive.

Faith is a good thought that we use to act even if we don't understand everything clearly.  I use faith to believe in God's promises but I can also use faith to believe in evolution.  So faith is choosing which thoughts to allow (believing ones or unbelieving ones).

Lying about our thoughts creates powerful emotions which erupt.  I don't think we need to tell all that we're thinking but if I have a concern and I don't talk about it and it doesn't go away then it is going to get louder.  When we're angry we don't always tell the truth about our concern.  That is why anger isn't very productive.  The best way to voice a concern is in private forum like a journal that allows us to explore the possible outcomes and solutions rationally.  Hiding From Love is a book about hiding emotional truths/fears that need to be allowed out in safe situations.

Images, like pornographic ones, become intrusive and addictive negative thoughts.  Don't choose to allow these thoughts into your mind.  They are ugly and they will grow like weeds.  When it comes to gardens you plant what you want to harvest.  Be intentional in what seed-thoughts you plant.

We can't act on thoughts we don't foster.  A thought-life that doesn't include regular time in the scriptures isn't going to grow gospel virtues.  The time we spend in thinking about God pays off over time.

If drugs affect spider's thoughts and are visually obvious in the webs they make, then drugs will also affect human dexterity, precision and perception.  Source:  This is a Spider's Brain on Drugs
I'm going to propose that sugar, antidepressants, caffeine, alcohol, and traditional drugs are all capable of affecting mental processes.  To read about how sugar affects one woman click here "Sugar is my Enemy".  For me sugar now causes depression and uncontrollable thoughts.

This video is about fishing but it is also about the mental battles we fight to stay positive.  Check it out!

Do not dismiss the war within, for it is pointing the way out, telling you what to pay attention to and where to go.  The struggle is not to be avoided, it is the only path out.  Listen to your heart. Listen. Listen.  
- Brendon Burchard

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