|1. Do you ever do things you don't want to do?|
2. Which you is you?
3. If you don't want to do something, why do you do it?
4. Why don't you want to do it?
5. Can you discern who or what gets you to do it?
6. How do you feel when you do it?
7. Have you ever felt that feeling before?
8. Can you discern a pattern of events that leads up to it?
9. Would you like to stop that feeling from working?
10. It is possible, but there is no magic.
Your Mind is Like a House
Unwanted thoughts are like unwanted free-loaders living in your house. How did they get into your mind? When did they come in? Where did they come from? No one was born thinking in English, but now that thoughts are dwelling in your mind, what are you going to do about them? As long as those intruding thoughts are in charge, you can't enjoy the privacy of your home (they are always intruding and telling you what to feel or do); you can't enjoy the peace and quiet (they are always yapping, nagging, whining, complaining); and you find it hard to invite in guests (thoughts you like) that you really want to spend time with.
But your mind is YOUR house and you CAN begin to take charge of it! You can begin to say "NO" when those intruding thoughts come to the door. For the intruders already in your mind, you can start starving them out. They get weak when they don't get fed (meaning get their own way). Show them that they are not the boss. You are not going to let them rule your life, your feelings, your actions. The more the intruders get their way, the stronger they become and the harder it is to stop them. Intruding thoughts are tricky, but you can learn their tricks and out-smart them.
You can start taking charge of your mind by separating the thoughts you want from the thoughts you don't want to spend time with. That is called discernment. Make a list: a "guest list" for the life-promoting thoughts and an "intruder list" for those thoughts that seem to rob you of your life, your energy, your time. Then, as situations arise, you begin to substitute the guests for the intruders. That means deciding you are NOT going to agree with the intruder, you are going to resist him by agreeing with a guest. Writing thoughts and feelings down is a powerful tool in this process. The intruders hate it.
As with any skill, practice is a necessity. The more you practice your discernment and make choices to think life-promoting thoughts, the happier and healthier you can become. The intruders make you do, think, and feel things you don't really like. Don't agree with them. Talk back in your mind to them and let them know you are not their slave. It is much more than a game, it can be as important as life and death.
Learning to discern thoughts and effectively fight against
them is a precious gift. You may want to make this
training a priority and search out those that can teach
you more in this area. This skill will not only help
you mentally, but also physically, emotionally, in
your relationships and spiritually. To expand your
guest list, read the article Words We Need To
Discernment is the ability to distinguish between that
which produces health and that which produces illness.
To discern means "to see, to understand, to detect,
to identify as separate and distinct, to discriminate;
a power to see what is not evident to the average mind;
emphasizes accuracy, as in reading character, motives,
-- Webster's Dictionary
You will find it helpful to start a Discernment Notebook or journal. The concept is similar to that of a diary. Instead of "Dear Diary" it is "Dear Discernment." In this notebook you can keep track of when and why you go through the motions of doing certain things YOU don't want to do and what keeps YOU from doing the things that YOU do want to do.
Throughout your life, you will be adding areas of investigation. You will be looking for the cobwebs of stress--how one reaction leads to another which leads to another until you are caught in a whole cobweb of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. As you discern the cobwebs , you can begin to loosen their connections. Simultaneously, you will be exploring ways to strengthen your network of healthy, life-promoting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
This is the most difficult job you will ever accept. The consequences are clear: chronic confusion leads to injury, illness, and death. Honest discernment leads to a healthy life full of happiness, peace, love, and assurance. The choices are yours.
Clarification: A notebook alone is not magic. You will also need the help of others who are further along in the discernment process than you are. They know what you are going through and can give you a hand to grab hold of as you climb. You can't do it alone!
You can only be conscious of one thought at a time. To capture a thought and learn a pattern of thoughts, you must keep notes like a doctor or a detective. Use your journal to write down thought patterns and feelings that rip you off.
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