At the beginning of last month my beloved MacBook broke down. I wasn’t able to switch it on anymore and of course I didn’t have a backup of my data so I was forced to bring it to the store. Three weeks and 300 bucks later I went to pick up my revived baby. What a relief, for my heart (finally back to writing on my own device) and for my eyes (SO done with binge-watching Netflix on my phone).
The guy at the apple store explained to me that they had to replace the hard disk, install software updates, and do a general cleaning. “Miss, everything that wasn’t broken on your Mac was outdated. I honestly wondered how you were able to still work with it for so long.” His words got me thinking… I kept on using the same old setup for years, wondering why my computer got slower and slower. Even worse – I was downloading all kinds of files and cluttering it up until it finally broke down. Why didn’t I take action earlier? And much more important: Wasn’t I doing the exact same thing to the “computer” that navigates me through life, my very own mind?
This question reminded me of what I realized years ago when I started to turn my life around towards happiness and inner peace: My mind needs reprogramming, updating, and cleaning. Over and over again. Most of the elements in my belief system were or still are pretty outdated and they keep on replaying the same old patterns like a broken record. They used to make sense, years ago… Like the conviction that I’d better not take the risk of showing anyone how lost I really feel, because not fitting in isn’t an option. That I’d rather work a bit harder, no matter how tired I am, because this guarantees me some form of approval at least. That I’d always find some sweetness in food, if there isn’t any in life. And of course the all underlying belief that the way I am is just not right, so I’d better try to be someone I’m not. How else could I get the love I’m so desperately in need of?
Well, newsflash to self: Life is good, sweet and worthy. And so I am. I technically know that by now. But the patterns in my mind take me down a different road sometimes, that’s just how they’ve been programmed over time. And since I really don’t want to end like my computer – and also since I can’t just be fixed at the apple store – I’m more than willing do to some reprogramming.
Sounds reasonable? This is how I do it:
Being Aware Of My Thoughts
The first step if we want to reprogram our thinking is to actually become aware of our thoughts. A great way do to this is the so-called uncensored writing, where you sit undisturbed for ten minutes and write down everything that goes through your mind. Don’t use a filter and just keep on going. You may be quite surprised by the result, that Osho describes in his book “Meditation – The First And Last Freedom” as the work of a mad man. He explains:
And when you become aware of your thoughts, you will be surprised what goes on inside you. If you write down whatsoever is going on at any moment, you are in for a great surprise. You will not believe that this is what is going on inside you. And after ten minutes, read it – you will see a mad mind inside! Because we are not aware, this whole madness goes on running like an under-current. It affects whatsoever you are doing, it affects whatsoever you are not doing; it affects everything.(p. 4)
Once you’re aware of the flood of information in your mind, you may start to recognize certain patterns. Maybe the voices in your head keep on making you small, criticising everything you do. Maybe they keep on reminding you of all the things you need to do today and that you don’t have time for this weird spiritual work. Or they whisper scary ideas in your ears to prepare you for all kind of catastrophes that will probably never happen. Whatever it is you’re thinking, if it causes emotions such as fear, depression, stress, worthlessness, or loneliness, you may want to consider installing an update.
Reprogramming My Thinking
What really works for me in this context are meditative positive affirmations. They are spoken slowly, so that they can really sink in and let the feelings of faith, joy, love, serenity, and connection arise from the heart (in contrast to “pure” positive affirmations that focus more on the thinking part and never really worked for me). I usually sit or lay down for a couple of minutes, listen to them with headphones and just see how they make me feel. These are my five favourite short videos on YouTube:
- If you’re feeling scared or anxious, listen to this for experiencing more trust and faith.
- If you’re feeling depressed or unmotivated, listen to this for experiencing more gratitude and joy.
- If you’re feeling stressed or restless, listen to this for experiencing more serenity and relaxation.
- If you’re feeling worthless or guilty, listen to this for experiencing more self-love and self-compassion.
- If you’re feeling disconnected or lonely, listen to this for experiencing more compassion and to this for experiencing more connection to your higher self.
I hope they work for you as well as they do for me – discover also tons of other videos on YouTube by searching for “positive affirmations”. I don’t love every single detail about them (especially the ones that are not from the amazing channel “Unlock Your Life”), but these were the best I could find, and I was actually thinking about writing a script and recording some by myself…What do you think?
Don’t Forget The Cleaning!
Oh, and since fall is just such a great season for letting go: Don’t forget to clean your mental hard disk once in a while by releasing some of the bottled-up energy you carry around all day. Check out my previous blog post on active meditations, dance it out to some loud music, go for a run, or do any other kind of energy release that suits you. Tidying out will give you more space to breathe and be who you are. And that’s what we’re really here for, isn’t it…
I’m sending loving and healing vibes to everyone who reads this and wish you a great Sunday.