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Thought Management - Thought Management: Managing your Thoughts PDF Print E-mail
Meditation - Techniques
Article Index
Thought Management
Thought Management: Knowing your Thoughts
Thought Management: Managing your Thoughts
Exercises
All Pages

Thought Management: Managing your Thoughts

  1. Control of Mind - Dropping of thoughts

  2. Multiplicity of thoughts

  3. Caution

  4. Explanations of Exercises for Thought Management

1. Control of Mind - Dropping of thoughts
This exercise should be done after one or two weeks of doing exercise 1. After that it becomes a combination of exercise 1 and this exercise. The idea is to drop any thought that comes through. No discrimination is needed. All thoughts that traverse the mind need to be dropped. Once you start the bad thoughts good ones start coming. They need to be dropped too. Good, bad and ugly; all thoughts need to be dropped.

I was describing this technique to a psychiatrist friend of mine. She was quite interested and even fascinated by the concept. The question she had is what happens if the thoughts reappear after dropping it. Some thoughts will re appear and keep reappearing. There is no problem with that. You have to keep dropping and keep dropping as many times as it keeps reappearing. You have to remember that the exercise is just to practice how to drop thoughts. It is not a judgment on your capabilities. The thought’s reappearance should not be taken as a defeat. No one is winning and no one is loosing in this exercise. The idea is to reverse the control. The fact that you can drop any thought at will takes you one step closer to getting control over your thoughts.

Some thoughts are easier to drop than others. Consuming thoughts are lot harder to drop. They are very tenacious. You almost have to separate them from yourself before they can be dropped. Once you practice this exercise for a while you can see the deeper thoughts that have stayed attached for quite a while and tend to stay there. The practice needs to continue. Indiscriminate dropping of all thoughts is the key. That is why I emphasized the point of not using this exercise in real life. This exercise is meant for only the session of half to one hour a day.

However, once you have learned to drop the thoughts, it can be applied to real life as and when needed. Here is an example. I drink a lot of coffee. I decide to cut my coffee intake. I like my morning coffee that I get from Dunkin donut which is on my way to work. I sit in the car and decide that I will not have coffee today. As I get closer to the coffee place, the thought comes that I could have it today and start not having coffee from tomorrow. I drop this thought. The thought keeps getting stronger as I come closer to the coffee place. The dropping of thoughts is also getting stronger. I am getting more powerful as well. The coffee shop passes by and I have gone past without having coffee and without having had to fight inside. The alternate approach which is common is to fight it. I want to fight my desire of having a coffee. The harder I fight the stronger the desire that I want to drink coffee gets back to me. The tension shows on my face. In the earlier example of dropping of thoughts, there is no element of stress or tension. Dropping of thoughts is not a fight.

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2. Multiplicity of thoughts

We all know that our mind is active all the time. There is noise in there. Chatter is going on all the time. Is there only one thought at a time or are there multiple thoughts traversing the mind at any given time? I get up in the morning. I want to have tea. I also have to brush my teeth. Do I wake up my wife? My daughter and her daughter are home. I would love to play with my grand-daughter. Also, I have to write my article for the magazine. What about my golf? I must get my tee time. All these thoughts and more are in co-existence with me at one time. I do want to remind you that this are just exercises. We are talking about half-hour meditative exercises. All exercises help you to deal with real life situations. The applications are automated. Once you have the tools of dealing with thoughts, you will apply the tools in real life. Practice makes it a real possibility. The steps are:

1. Understand: Understand the underlying principles of the exercises

2. Exercise: Do the exercises as directed in half-hour blocks.

3. Apply: Application in real life follows. In the beginning you may have to make an effort; later it becomes effortless. It becomes a way of life for you.

4. Practice: Keep practicing 1, 2 and 3. We will discuss more about this later.

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3. Caution
There are two things that might happen to you or anyone doing these exercise and you have to recognize them and be prepared to handle the fallouts from these:

A. There is going to be a change in your behavior, a change in how you deal with and process thought waves. You are going to be less predictable once that happens. This might affect relationship with close ones. Your spouse might find your behavior strange. Your wife comes home late and you are not disturbed. In the past you might have thrown tantrums if that happened. Now you know better. You will simply find out what happened. There might be a good reason for her to have been late. Your wife may have a pleasant surprise. Situation may take a turn. There may be occasions when someone may want to see you upset. Why are you not upset? Certain equilibrium has been reached between you and your surroundings. Change disturbs that equilibrium. A new equilibrium needs to be established. Sometimes it may become a problem. You are doing these exercises to bring peace to yourself and your surroundings. The contrary may happen. This is not what you may have planned for. I want you to know this beforehand so that you can prepare yourself for what may come in your life. A new balance may need to be re-established in certain relationships. You can handle it better if you understand that it might happen.

B. As mentioned above a change happens inside you by practice of meditative exercises. This change affects your outlook to life. Suddenly the world changes. You used to get up at 8 am in the morning. Now you get up at 5:30 am and are ready to do your yoga or meditative exercises before you go to work. It feels so good. You are full of positive energy. Now you want the whole world to behave this way. You want your son and daughter to also get up at the same time and get going the same way as you do. This impulse has to be recognized. You may want to share this newfound exercise with every one around you, but you need to resist enforcing on others you newfound love. You also need to avoid judging people according to your new standards. You have helped yourself by doing these exercises. It is good to share, but it is also good to resist imposing yourself on others. A balance has to be reached.

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4. Explanations of Exercises for Thought Management

Processing of thoughts with positive energy
Thoughts or events that lead to generation of thoughts are generally neutral. We provide them energy (negative or positive) to go further. It is also important to remember that positive things generally happen around positive people. It is not that negative things do not happen to such people. The incidence of negative phenomenon around such people is less.

Example
Let us take a simple example. You are playing golf and you hit a ball. The ball slices and disappears in the woods. You are frustrated. How could this happened to you? You throw your clubs and start swearing. You take a drop and hit the next ball. This one goes astray as well. You have lost your center. You are still in an upset mode. You are not back to your happy point. The same event could be processed in a positive fashion. The ball has gone to the woods. How do I recover from it? I should get my next shot right. A good friend of mine, Brian Jumper, plays good golf. I asked him for some tips and he said, “It is all mental.” He knows it is not all mental but what he is trying to tell is that mind plays a great role in the game of golf.

Realization
It is important to realize that the processing of thoughts should be performed without letting the thought getting attached to you. You need to pick up any random thought that comes to your mind and process it. Processing requires energy from you. Prior to processing, it was just a thought. It is like a wild beautiful flower in a jungle. It just exists. Once a man comes near the flower, a new poetry arises. Making of a poem however natural, requires energy. Another man may want to dig the flower plant and destroy nature in the process. And yet another man may smoke his cigarette and throw carelessly in the wild forest which might start a wild fire. That wild fire may cause destruction and also cost money and lives in the process.

What is the point?
The point I am trying to make here is the kind of energy you provide in the processing the thoughts is important. Positive energy is what you need to use in processing theses thoughts in these exercises. Since these exercises are meditative exercises, there may be inadvertent materialization of your thought processes. Therefore it is important that you do not provide negative energy to any thoughts during these exercises. Otherwise, you might cause the wild fire effect in some form or the other. Also, since you will be working on certain thought intensely for approximately 5-10 minutes, you might also affect or pollute the universal thought pool if you impart lots of negative energy to that particular thought.

Positive Thinking
Most people understand what positive thinking is. They all want to bring this to their lives, but are not able to do it when they want to. The reason is that they are not used to doing so. Exercise one is meant to help you know what kind of thoughts you currently have and how you currently process your thoughts. This is how you have been doing it all your life. Any change takes time and practice. These half-hour exercises are going to provide you a platform for positive thinking. If you practice half-hour for several months, you walk around with positive energy and that is what you will have whenever any thought or event happens around you. Even negative thoughts can be practiced in a positive fashion. There is no thought or event that does not have a positive side to it.

Positive Imaging
One of my patients introduced me to this process. The patient had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had done his home work and wanted me to do his surgery. How can he control the outcome of his surgery by me? The patient gave me a book on positive imaging by Reverend Vincent Peele. It takes us beyond the world of thinking and places in the realm of imaging. The patient would imagine that he is on the operating table and I am doing his surgery. The surgery atmosphere is wonderful. The anesthesia is going well. The nurses are doing their job efficiently. The surgeon is doing his job. There is very little bleeding, if any. All this goes on to the end of surgery and he recovers well. Is this dreaming or is this positive imaging to the details? His outcome was excellent. There have been excellent outcomes in other patients too, who did not do positive imaging about their surgery. But, this does bring the dimension of a possibility in our lives. If you can image your thoughts you should try this technique during these exercises.

Positive state of existence
The goal of these exercises is to get to this state of living. By doing exercise one, you have already determined what kind of thoughts flow naturally through your head. Many of the successful people or high efficiency people have natural positive state when it comes to the area they excel in. If you are one of these successful people you may want to work on areas where you tend to have negative thoughts. You may be very successful in making money. People follow you as a leader in financial field. You may be on the cover of all the financial magazines. Yet, you may be very lonely inside. Positive energy helps you become a complete person. You have found your happy point. There still may be a problem with your spouse. You may not be talking to your son. But, it is ok. Once the negativity is out, you will be fulfilled as you are. Fulfillment on the outside just follows. Life outside is a reflection of state of existence inside. Once everything is at peace inside, you become peaceful outside. Thought management is not really enough to bring about these changes. Meditation works much better. Meditation also helps generate energy which then can be conserved in the form of positive energy state. Positive thinking then comes naturally to you.
It is worth taking a note from Krishna, from Bhagavad-Gita, who talks about attributes of such a person (who are able take part in nishkam karma):

nehabhikrama-naso 'sti
pratyavayo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
trayate mahato bhayat


In this, there is no waste of the unfinished attempt, nor is there production of contrary results. Even very little of this Dharma protects from great fear. ||2:40||
1. No effort of nishkam karma is wasted
2. There are no obstacles (pratyavaya) in the path of nishkam karma and
3. Nishkama karma protects one from the greatest fear

The Supermind
By and by this exercise will prepare you for ultimate brainstorming power. Once you are able to do the exercise as above for few weeks, you will need to expand your horizons. Be open to input from the outside universe while processing the thought that you have randomly picked up. As if you have stopped your input and as if you have stopped processing from your side. You and your thought (picked up randomly) and nothing else. You with your thought are just waiting for some miracle to happen. And suddenly it does happen. You are now dipping into what Aurobindo has called the ‘Supermind’. You are one with this Supermind. Now you are able to process the thoughts at a different level. You are not alone. The input is coming from all around. You may need to develop a meditative mind to get there, but it is possible. Meditation then will start to have a greater meaning in your life at that point. We will stay here with thought management for the time being.

Thought Theme Undercurrent
This is an application of this exercise in regular life. In real life you can make one thought theme an undercurrent. You may have several parallel undercurrents running without any conflict with each other. Once you are able to pick up and stay with one thought without distraction; you will enjoy life on a different plane.

Example:
Let me give a simple example. I am a physician. One undercurrent thought theme in my professional life is ‘quality patient care.’ I was in office yesterday (Thursday) seeing patients. It was a busy day as usual. There was a patient, diagnosed with prostate cancer, who had come to see me. Let us call him John Doe. He is scheduled for surgery for removal of prostate coming Monday in 4 days’ time. He wants to get it done and be over with. The patient has a high grade cancer. The CT scan and liver ultrasound suggest that there may be minute metastasis in the liver. It is not clear. Rather, it is inconclusive. I do not have the images. The chances that there is liver metastatis are low. I try to contact the radiologist, who reported, to get more insight into his thinking. The radiologist is out till coming Monday. I talk to the patient and his family. They want to get it over with. Pressure is there. I go with the flow. The patient signs off on the consent-form and all is set. He leaves the office happy that surgery will be performed on coming Monday. All the paperwork is done. Everyone concerned is informed. I start seeing other patients and dealing with their issues. “The Quality Patient Care” undercurrent is still there. A thought comes about John Doe. The x-ray images are on my computer and I can talk to another radiologist and discuss his case. I can see images too, but I do not have much experience about liver mets or lesions. So, I pick up the phone and call the radiologist at another center where I work. We have a five minute discussion. The radiologist understands the situation and gives his feelings about the liver lesions. We feel that we should postpone the surgery and do some follow up images and have a better report of his status before proceeding further. This is what we go ahead with. I explain it to the patient and he is ok with that line of thinking.

Probably other physicians in this situation would have acted in a similar fashion without having the knowledge of undercurrent thought theme. They all have this undercurrent instilled in them while being trained as a responsible Urologist. The exercise mentioned above brings these undercurrents to a conscious level. Some undercurrents already exist in your life. You may want to get rid of some of these undercurrent thought themes once you become aware of them. And now that you have learned how to drop and add undercurrents, you can find it easier to get rid of some of these undercurrent themes.

Non-Attachment
By now you have picked up a thought, processed it as far as you can and have dropped it. You did not allow any of these thoughts to be attached to you. They were there just for the exercise. You thought about the game of golf intensely. Yet, the game was never there. You shot from the tee and perhaps made a birdie. But, the birdie was not real. There was no attachment. This is the basis of non attachment. Can this same principle be applied to real life? Is there no attachment in real life? We are born non-attached. We with help of our parents and the environment learn to attach. Every attachment disappears with our death. Exercise 3 lets you practice picking up a thought and processing it intensely for a few minutes. Remember to drop it completely as well. Then and then only will you get a glimpse of non-attachment. Whether you would like to taste this or not is up to you but do not be in a hurry to come to a conclusion about this intriguing topic.

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