Freedom from Torture

August 3, 2013 | 20 Comments »

free your mindToday I spoke with someone who was torturing herself with a really nasty thought.

(Actually, I didn’t think it was that bad of a thought, but she said it was literally killing her.)

“Then why are you thinking it?” I asked.

“Because it’s true,” she answered.

Or at least, she suspected it was true, although she really wanted to believe it wasn’t, since it was a thought she couldn’t live with.

“Maybe you should think something else instead,” I suggested.

“How am I supposed to do that, when this is so awful?” she insisted.

Clearly she had no practice in finding thoughts that felt better.  And she believed her thought was true.

Talk about the ultimate handicap – believing your thoughts and not knowing how to choose different ones.  Sheesh!

She used my silence to repeat again just how horrible her thought/reality was.

Okay, I get it!  But repeating it isn’t how we get out from under it!

“That’s one way of looking at it,” I offered.

And then I laid out like seven alternative thoughts, all of which felt way better, but she wasn’t biting.  It’s not how she saw it.

Holy mother, I’m wondering, how did she get my number?!  Not only that she can’t give herself relief from a horrible thought, but she can’t even pick one up when someone else (a really good professional even) is making one up for her!  Wowza.

So she believes in the sh*t that sucks, and doesn’t know how to tear her eyes away from it.

Then I got an idea … “Hey, you know that inner guidance thing?  How it doesn’t join us in untrue thoughts?  And how it feels really bad when that part of us vacates the premises?”

No, she didn’t know that.

“Well, that’s how it works,” I assured her.  “Which means any thought that doesn’t feel good isn’t true.”

“It’s NOT?!”

Absolutely not,” I vehemently insisted.

Her silence wasn’t from relief, but from disbelief.  I suspect she joined me in wondering why she called me.  Because clearly I was insane and of no use to her.

Don’t ask what made me think quantum physics would help the situation.

“Let’s look at it this way.  Everything is happening, there’s no such thing as time, and you can experience any of those realities based on how you focus.  Isn’t that reason enough to find a different thought?”

“What other thought would I think?” She sounded lost.

But I didn’t cave.  “One of love!  One of life!  One of pleasure!”

Still the crickets.  Okay, maybe I should tone it down … “It could be about mailmen or trees or anything!”  (I was just naming random things outside the window.)

Still not helping, but she offered me one last chance to ease her tortured mind:

“What do you think about death?”

“Well, I don’t think about it that much.”  (Duh, why would I?!  I’m not into self-torment!)  “But the truth is I don’t believe in it the way lots of others do.  I believe there’s no end to who we are.  Our bodies, sure.  But who we really are – it’s indestructible and infinite.  And super cool.”

Still nothing.

I suggested she talk with her higher power – whatever that was – and ask for some support there.

She’s not religious, she contended.  “Neither am I, and it still works.”  (Go figure.)

I hung up feeling rather useless and also astonished at someone who practiced such incredible self torture by repeating the awful thought that didn’t feel good – just because it seems true.  I wondered how horrid would it be to live like that.

And then realized, that was me, one week ago.  When I cried for 12 hours straight after realizing my blind cat wasn’t home any more.  I was under the spell of some heavy duty nasty thoughts, just like my friend was today.

I did try to find my way out, though:

  • “Maybe he had another little girl he wanted to live with.”  But I want him here.
  • “Maybe it was his time.”  He’s only three, for hell’s sake.  It’s too soon!
  • “Maybe he likes living the big adventure.”   It wasn’t that bad here.  We had good times … Elvis come BACK!
  • “Maybe he’s just hiding really well, and he’s actually still here somewhere.”  Don’t be ridiculous – he’s GONE!
  • “Maybe he’ll come back.  Maybe someone will find him.  Maybe I’ll find him.”

It was a lot of anguish and misery.  It was quite horrible – not just for me, but for everyone around me.

And I couldn’t stop.  Until I fell asleep.

Which is when I dreamed of being reunited with my favorite cat.

Sure enough, at 4 am when I didn’t have a single negative conscious thought flowing – that cat came back.

So I get it.  Sometimes we get stuck on a really awful thought that seems like we can’t shake.

But, we can.  Eventually we’ll cry ourselves into exhaustion, or fall asleep, or realize we were seeing it wrong all along.

Some how some way we’ll get a respite from the torment of repeating the thoughts that don’t feel good.  And when we do, we’ll remember how this works.

At least, that’s my intention for the next time I lose my head.

If you’re the unlucky person who is stuck sitting next to me as I empty the kleenex box, you have my permission to remind me of this post.  So I can remember how ridiculous it is to keep thinking a thought that feels horrible.

I’ll remember that as I find my way to relief, some way some how, even if it’s crying myself to sleep, I’ll remember that when I give up the battle of the bad thoughts, I create an opening for something good.

And if my cat hadn’t returned, I’d eventually find my way to other thoughts.  Because I’m cool like that.  I know good times follow bad, that things get better, that I’ll have more friends, that everyone’s fine no matter how it looks like to the contrary in my limited 3D perception, and that I’m not dependent on anyone or anything for how I feel.

This post is designed to remind myself (and anyone else who might benefit from it) the next time we’ve fallen under the spell of a torturous “truth.”

  • Everything is actually fine, even if you don’t see that right now.
  • If your thought doesn’t feel good, try again.
  • If all else fails, sleep is your friend.

That oughta do.  🙂

But if you’ve got words of wisdom to share with someone who is doing the mental flagellation game, please post them here.  Many thanks!

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20 Responses to “ Freedom from Torture ”

  1. Robert says:

    I just want to say there is something very magical that happens around 4 AM when there are no negative thoughts in our heads. I often wake up around that time to feelings of great peace and even joy. I’m not sure how that works, but early morning is the best time of the day.

  2. Ming says:

    Jeannette,

    After reading this powerful post of yours, something tells me, you did help that lady. She went away with something. There is a definite reason to her calling and YOU answering 😉

  3. Yay for 4 am miracles, Robert! Thanks for putting some extra magic in my night/morning.
    🙂
    And Ming, I just posted in the GVU forum about how I wonder if she was an angel of sorts sent to teach me something powerful. (Since she seemed to disappear from my world immediately afterward!)

  4. Deborah says:

    Jeannette, can I just say how much I love you and your blog?

    I’ve been struggling with a similar kind of thing inside my own head recently. There are lots of different things that I do to sidestep it, but the relief that’s currently working best for me is this: I remind myself that we are *always* behaving “as if” so we might as well choose the “as if” that makes us happy. Kind of like what you were getting at in your accidental love curse post, self-focused. 😉

    BTW, I listened again to your Money Magic Mojo recording this morning as I was running errands. Still great the third time around!

  5. sara says:

    Ahhhhhhh, how serendipitous to read this the day after I had my own personal meltdown – even as I said and thought about the ‘truth’ I know to exist…I just couldn’t pull my heart out of the bottomless pit it went into.

    Until I woke up this morning and got a reply from my mother – who is AWESOME! Her advise, that I’d like to share for anyone that it may resonate was this:

    – first of all, she said it wasn’t advise – only thoughts to consider 🙂
    – when in doubt, don’t…wait for clarity, wait for the fog to lift, express gratitude for it because it WILL happen
    – force a smile onto my face at odd moments because this seems to confuse the ego and undermine it’s hold on us
    – remember that was causes us pain may be something that someone else needs to experience

    I love her. I love life, even in it’s loop-de-loops it is a bitch’in adventure!
    – sara

  6. Wow, I like that Deborah! That we are always behaving “as if,” so why not choose the better one. I’ll be playing with that!

    Sara, I love seeing you here at the blog! Your “loop de loop” enthusiasm for the ups and downs of life is contagious. MWAH!

    PS – thanks for the Money Mojo love, Deborah!

  7. Hannah says:

    Hey Jeannette, thank you for this post. It’s good to know that I’m not the only coach who is sometimes frustrated.

    Here’s what I see when trying to find different thoughts doesn’t work:
    It’s time to take a pause and surrender to feel those thoughts in your body. Instead of engaging with the thoughts or trying to get away from them, it’s time to meet them and giving them space in the emotional realm. I guess that’s what you did when you cried over the (possible) loss of your cat.

    Sometimes, when a person is so stuck in his head he can’t connect with his body, I do a meditation as a trigger for change and relaxation.

    And: What if the thought IS true? When I’m too desperately trying to find evidence that it’s wrong, and it’s not working, I usually have to face the fear. So it’s true. So what? If I can face and live through my biggest fear, it has lost it’s threat. I can now deliberately choose which road to take. And I’m ok with whatever reality I’m facing. Because it’s not reality that is so horrible but my perception of it.

    And you can remind me of those words when I have my meltdown. 😛

    Lots of love,

    Hannah

  8. Deborah says:

    “Which means any thought that doesn’t feel good isn’t true.” WOW, that hit me in just the right spot and at just the right time!! Thank you!!!!!!

  9. So true, Hannah – I could tell even while I was trying to reach for a thought that felt better that it was pretty important to first honor the feelings that were present. And I knew it would be some “good” contrast.

    Love your reminder that it isn’t reality that’s so horrible – just our perception of it. Very good point. Thanks for chiming in here.

  10. Kitty says:

    Sooo love your honesty!!!! What a blessing to know those practicing LOA longer than I can have their moments too….

    Most all of your posts teach me something and this one was the homerun out of the park AWESOME!

    Not sure if that lady got it, but we got it!

  11. Glad that rang your bell, Deborah. I actually learned that from Abraham-Hicks – it’s one of my favorite teachings from them!

    And Kitty, I’m so glad to hear my intention has come to fruition. I suspected there was a big lesson for ME in that phone call, and glad that it could expand beyond me as well.

    Thanks for reading and for sharing such supportive words, you two. 🙂

  12. Good reminders are in my inbox as well as facebook about other tips to help in these situations:

    Queenie suggests EFT:

    “next time you feel awful, try EFT. So basically you tap on a few acupressure points on your face and upper body while reflecting deeply on your negative emotion. the negative emotion will be utilised in seconds or minutes are even”

    Eve suggests distraction:

    “Another trick I use when I can do it, is flat out 100% distraction. In other words, I will find the opposite of what I’m thinking. So in your case, you are worried about your cat, perhaps then the opposite thought which has nothing to do with your cat would be to think about your next vacation to Vegas or Disney or Europe…wherever you like to go and where you would not be thinking about your cat. For me, it is in finding something that is SO far away from what I’m concerned with helps when I am absolutely rock solid in my upsetness (gee, I spell like Abraham!) LOL. It’s a trick I use when moving up the vibrational scale the normal way doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.”

    Gary suggests:

    “Perhaps Kleenexes and tears aren’t so bad because they just might be what is needed to “flush the fear” (tortured truth) out of one’s system so a person can return to thinking as before, which of course is in a more positive and rational way. I call it an emotional enema.”

    That’s great input – thanks, everyone, for adding to the wisdom here!

  13. Eva says:

    Hi Great post! It shows the difference between someone that’s hanging on to feeling bad and may or may not let go of it in their own time. It didn’t really matter what you said.. She’s not ready to let it go and that’s okay. And it makes sense that you were upset (we can’t all be Byron Katie 🙂 ) but you were willing to let go of the negative. You have such a skillful way of showing us a better way!

  14. What a beautiful, funny post which sheds light in the darkness of negative thought! It is so easy to believe the thoughts we’re getting, (fear backing it up all the way of course) and before we know it we’re in a whirlpool of thoughts we can’t get out of and our reality is starting to look a lot like what we’re thinking.

    This post is such a blessing and so relevant for me right this second 🙂

    Bliss

  15. That’s a good point, Eva. It reminds that we all get to a place of relief one way or another, sooner or later, I suppose? (Here’s to sooner rather than later!)
    😉
    And Bliss, glad you found some inspiration in it. Thanks for reading and for posting, both of you!

  16. Serena says:

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Hi Jeannette. I’ve been putting out some comments lately but they never show up. Is that because you are moderating comments and you haven’t had time to moderate them yet? Or are the comments not reaching you (maybe bad internet connection/got lost in the virtual air?)? Sorry I can’t repost them though, I don’t remember them.

  17. Michaela says:

    Thank you for this posting, Jeannette. It’s uncanny how often you write about just what I’m going through at the moment. I’m torturing myself with a thought (even more than one thought, actually) that really feels horrid to me. I’ve been doing it for weeks and it truly feels like torture. I’ve read your blog post twice and it seems I still don’t get how to find my way to better-feeling thoughts. Could you say a little bit more about “that inner guidance thing and how it doesn’t join us in untrue thoughts?” Did you really mean that – that a thought that doesn’t feel good isn’t true?

  18. Oh yes, I meant that, Michaela! Let me see if I can track down Abe saying it better than I do …

    these aren’t directly speaking to it, but they’re sort of related:

    As you leave this gathering with one powerful intention and that is you are going to identify for yourself a new criteria by which you are going to live your life and that is: Does this thought, word, or deed resonate with what the Source within me is thinking, speaking, or doing in this precise moment relative to this precise subject. Because, you have a partner, a non-physical counterpart, a Source within, an Inner Being, you may give it whatever label you may want to find for it, but what we want you to know that it is ­ it is who you really are. And anything less than alignment with that eternal, non-physical, source energy part of you will feel off to you.

    And, when it’s off ­ you can use any excuse in the world to explain – “well, I feel bad because of what you said,” or “I feel bad because of what you did,” or “I feel bad because you don’t look at me the way I want you to look at me,” or “I feel bad because you care more about that person than you do about me,” or “I feel bad …” and we say: blah, blah, blah …

    Actually, we really say nothing about that because anything that has to do with anything that makes you feel bad, there’s only one thing for you to do and that is GET OFF OF IT! Stop beating the drum of it! You’re never going to figure it out! You’re never going to sort it out! You’re never going to take something that feels off and make it feel on! You’re not going to take that thing that feels off and work it to a place where ….Sometimes you say, “If I could just figure it out, if I could just get to the bottom of it, if I could just find the truth of it, if I could just find the fact of it, then I would feel better.” And we say, “no you wouldn’t.” You’ll feel worse. You’ll feel worse, because when you get to the bottom of something you do not want you hold yourself in vibrational discord with what you do want. And, you’re never gonna feel good when you hold yourself in vibrational discord to what you want.

    Abe ­ Boston 09.25.2010

    Now if your Inner Being, if that God who is truly you, would step out of the Vortex with you, and hate right along with you, you wouldn’t feel any discord. Because the discord you feel is your separation (that’s really too strong a word) your pinching off, of the fullness of who you really are.

    Abraham, Australia December 2009

    You don’t move through fear. You acknowledge it as guidance what you are thinking is BOGUS!

    The feeling of fear, think about it, when you feel fear, the significant thing it is telling you is you’re thinking of something your Inner Being isn’t thinking of. Because if your Inner Being agreed with you, you’d be feeling elation …

    Abraham, Chicago June 2011

  19. Michaela says:

    Thank you so much for the reply, Jeannette! I admit I can’t quite make sense of everything in the first two Abraham quotations, I find it easier to understand when you put it in your own words. So just to make sure – when I feel fear it is *not* my inner guidance, it is not a true thought?

    In spite of all my fear and panic I’m usually able to hear a quiet, calming and positive voice within giving me advice and inspiration. This voice reminds me of thoughts that feel good – or at least better. I wonder if this is actually an indication that my inner guidance is speaking and “joining me in a true thought” then?

  20. Here’s how I think of it (as learned from Abe) – my inner being/guidance is connected with Source/God. So it knows everything. When I think that doesn’t feel good, the reason it doesn’t feel good is because my inner being won’t join me in that thought. It has vacated the premises. Because it won’t engage a thought that isn’t true.

    So if I’m thinking a thought that doesn’t feel good, it’s because my inner being sees it differently. And if I reach around for some thoughts that feel better, the fact that they feel better is a sign that I’m getting closer to the truth.

    So if it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t true!!

    Example: say I’m entertaining the thought that my cat died. That thought feels TERRIBLE – and it seems TOTALLY true! How can that not be true?! It’s really easy to tell if it’s true or not!

    But if it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t true. It’s not how my Inner Being sees it.

    So how might it see this situation? Maybe that my cat’s spirit lives on – that who he is is eternal and thus there’s no such thing as “death” the way I was thinking about it. Maybe. Maybe he’ll reincarnate in another body – who knows? That thought feels a little better than the original, so I must be getting warmer. Maybe he’s still with me here right now – in some sense. That thought feels way better. That means my Inner Being is agreeing with that thought more than the one “my cat is dead.”

    It’s kind of a marco polo hotter/colder game. lol

    Hope that helps explain what I was trying to get across? This is a good question, Michaela! Thanks for the opportunity to expand on it.
    🙂

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