Sometimes hearing something, even if it’s through cyberspace, can completely shift your day, month, or life. Recently I listened to an online talk with Ram Dass and Frank Ostaseski on Loving Kindness. I wanted to see what Ram Dass had been up to, what he looked like these days, and be in his presence (via Internet technology).
What grabbed me the most was the meditation they led. Frank threw out the first line, “May I be safe and free from all danger” and repeated it a couple of times. We were instructed that it was okay to modify the language to suit us. The idea was to focus on feeling the power of the words. He went on “May I be happy and peaceful” also slowing repeating it. And then the next phrase “May I be well in body and in mind,” and in case one’s body or mind was not quite well, “May I meet my limitations gracefully.” This was followed by “May I live with ease and well-being” and lastly, “May I be filled with loving kindness.”
After we had all soaked these in, Frank repeated each phrase, first substituting “you” or “I” while thinking of someone we had unconditional love for, such as a child or teacher. “May you be safe and free from all danger…” and from there, he widened the circle out so that ultimately we were wishing these simple and profound things to every being.
There are several things that made this meditation so outstanding for me. One is that I can do it anytime. Second, repeating these phrases and focusing on their meaning definitely produces an expansive and calming effect on my body, mind, heart, etc. It was easy to feel the increase in peacefulness, inner spaciousness, and love. And third, it mirrors Attitude Reconstruction’s technique for how to rewire our thinking.
Select a “reliable truth” that contradicts your old trashy thought and repeat it over and over. For instance, if you find yourself thinking “that idiot shouldn’t drive like that” replace it with “people drive the way they do, not the way I think they should drive” and repeat that while driving and at other times, until you get it. Think this truth whenever old thoughts surface. And of course, instead of feeling frustrated with your partner, boss, or neighbor, think “People are the way they are, not the way I want them to be.”
According to Attitude Reconstruction you need to select a reliable truth or two about yourself, a couple about other people and situations, and a couple about time. Then when you find yourself thinking negatively, replace your downer thoughts with what is true.
Read more details about how to rewire your thinking as well as a list of reliable truths that contradict 95% of your destructive thoughts here. I tell clients 100,000 reps will do, given how much we have put ourselves down or felt worried, overwhelmed, impatient, or controlling.