Light is an essential part of our world. It warms us, makes plants grow, helps us see in the dark. It is heralded as holy in religions, ceremonies, light begins every new day. We use the word in our speech often without even realising it – lighten your load; lighten up; I felt lighter.
Light can also be used to describe the quality of our thoughts. How we think & feel about ourselves and others. There’s a lot of talk these days about positive thoughts vs negative thoughts. And sometimes, it seems unrealistic. If we are feeling really negative about something, making a positive or happy statement about it just feels false! You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes we can’t fake how we feel, we just have to feel it.
I’d like to share something a meditation teacher once told me. Rather than reaching for a ‘positive’ thought, try to find one that is a step lighter. In practical terms, what does this mean?
Well, if for example, I am stuck in a really bad mood about something hurtful someone said, trying to say to myself – I DON’T MIND, I FEEL POSITIVE ABOUT THIS, I LOVE EVERYONE ALL THE TIME – might not be possible. Maybe in a few days, but you know when you just can’t shake it, you are upset, in a funk, even feeling anger.
A thought that is one step lighter might look like this:
Tomorrow I might feel better
These feelings will pass
I’ve felt this upset before, and I recovered
That person probably doesn’t know how much they upset me
That person probably didn’t mean to make this upset
There are things I can do right now to take my mind off this for a while
Everyone feels upset sometimes
My dog is still cute and loves me
Lightening our thoughts is a lot like walking, instead of running. It is a practice of self-love and compassion for others that just tries to make us feel a little better, thought-by-thought.
If you are in a negative thought spiral of ‘I CAN’T DO THIS, THINGS ALWAYS FAIL, WHAT’S THE POINT, NOTHING WORKS OUT, WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?’ then running in your mind to ‘I AM AMAZING, I CAN DO ANYTHING, I AM THE BEST AT WHAT I DO, I ALWAYS SUCCEED! Might be out of reach. Choosing lighter thoughts like – SOME THINGS WORKED OUT TODAY, DELICIOUS DINNER WILL BE NICE, YOGA WILL PROBABLY HELP ME FEEL BETTER, BREATHING DEEPLY FEELS GOOD – can change our mood more effectively.
There is always a lighter thought we can find in our minds. Even if only a little, that can help us spiral upwards to a radiant inner world that is full of rainbows. We’ll get there one day!
*images by @mellyns_beauty
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