Quieting The Mind
by Vincent Barra © November 2008

I received an email from one of my listeners who is concerned about the lack of her ability to control rampant unbridled thoughts. She is extremely fearful that she is either possessed by an evil spirit, or she is slipping downwards into the spiraling darkness of psychotic episodes. Her dreams are also reflective of negative images and patterns that are redundant night after night. Her question is, "What can I do to quiet the mind or at least rid it of negative thoughts?"

I too have had occasions where the majority of my thoughts and dreams seem to take on a life of their own. Oftentimes, the predisposition of the dream is solely comprised of negative and morose images. Sometimes I awaken from horrible nightmares racing through my mind, leaving me frightened and fearful and unable to return back to sleep. From my studies, I know that nightmares are one of the warning tools the sub-conscious mind uses to alert the dreamer of pending disaster and/or obstacles that may happen immediately or in the near future. Usually such dreams contain information on how to avoid or change the situation for a better outcome. This is referred to as: "working out the dream."

As the Yogi say, "To have inner-thoughts guide us is perfect, these are the thoughts that we honor." The message that we hear within our thoughts should be of positive motivational stimuli, which make us a person filled with love, compassion and understanding for our fellow man.

But unfortunately, quite often we find ourselves with many thoughts that turn toward a more sinister nature. Negative thoughts one has toward others usually are born out of jealousy, envy or the fear we are lacking something within our own abilities. These thoughts are built more on depressing urges that cause a person to become mean-spirited and unhappy. These trains of thoughts can become very powerful as we endlessly repeat them in our mind. The problem is, the more we focus on negative thoughts, the more powerful they become. For that reason, it can become very difficult to stop this endless cycle of negative thinking.

There are many ways we can take control of these excessive conscious thoughts and bring tranquility back to the dream state. Meditation is one method for soothing a talkative mind. But for many it is extremely difficult to sit still and empty the mind of thought in order to accommodate most demands of various meditation modalities. It could take years of daily practice to acquire such a state. Another technique, one that I prefer, is using a daily journal. Every morning upon awakening record your dreams and during the day jot down all the negative thoughts that ramble through your mind. Document your frame of mind (disposition) and your emotional state of being for each occurrence.

In a relatively short period of time you will begin to notice repetitive patterns and themes occurring in your dreams. These patterns and themes will also play out throughout your daily activities. For example: in one of my reoccurring dreams I am driving a car and mindlessly enjoying the ride, when all of a sudden the car starts to uncontrollably accelerate faster and faster. When I try to apply the brakes, either there are no brakes or I always wake up.

The dream is telling me in my daily life I am moving too fast and if I don't slow down I will be unable to stop [brake] what I had put into motion [car], and eventually I will head toward a horrific ending [crash]. At first this dream seemed like a nightmare, but in actuality was a blessing in disguise, helping me to avoid major mishaps in my life. I needed to reconsider how I was proceeding and the necessity to slow down and apply the brakes thus turning a negative situation into a positive outcome.

With time and patience, you can log and interpret the symbols in your dreams and apply them to your daily activities. Soon you will be able to predict future events and make the adjustments to change the outcome. Eventually, you will become so proficient in dream analysis that before you retire at night you will be able to program your dreams by asking a question then awaken with the answer.

Another problem is sometimes we attach ourselves to certain ideas and problems, and we subconsciously get pleasure going through a certain problems and issues over and over again. If we subconsciously keep inviting the thoughts, we will never be able to stop them. Another method is to make a clear and conscious decision to stop the repetition of theses thoughts. Become aware of their negative impact and when they creep into your thinking, consciously push them away and replace them with positive images. This method is especially good with negative thoughts that are created and solely based on jealousy and envy because of another's good fortune. This deliberate step is an indispensable stage in controlling our thoughts. When you learn how to be truly happy and grateful for another's good fortune the uncontrollable negativity dissipates and the mind stills itself.

Another technique is to try and discover the origination of the thought. Ask yourself what situation and/or person from your past would have made you render such a negative reaction. By using this process, often called "inner-child cleansing work", you'll be able to rid yourself of habitual negative thinking, and find forgiveness and understanding for the unfavorable transgressions and deeds done to you by another.

Whatever methods you employ always remember that you are in complete control of your actions and your thinking. Do not give away your power by assuming otherwise. You need to be vigilant and be mindful of every thought that enters your consciousness. As soon as you experience a negative thought, immediately discard it and refuse to allow your mind to dwell on it, remembering to replace it with a positive image. Then smile and give yourself a big hug knowing that you are more powerful than idle mind chatter.










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