A while back my husband and I were in a class where we were asked to spend a day keeping a tally of how often we complained. I thought I was a pretty positive person so this exercise would be pretty easy to do. Oh my gosh, was I surprised to discover how often I was thinking complaining thoughts, though I wasn’t expressing them. I was complaining all right, just not out loud.
We were also asked to notice our patterns of thoughts. Did we tend to complain about other friends, co-workers, politics, our bodies, our helplessness, injustice, past abuses, lovers, etc.? As the class talked about our various thought patterns, it was amazing to realize that we tended to complain about certain types of events or people in our lives with great consistency.
Once I knew my particular pattern, which was complaining about people that didn’t live up to my expectations, I was able to zero in on my internal complaint department and reduce the number of harmful thoughts I was having.
I consciously attended to the nature of my thoughts. The minute I had a negative or blaming thought, I paused long enough to notice the emotion attached to the thought, and then held that emotion in compassion.
In the end, it didn’t matter whether the emotion was connected to me, another person, a group, a political or spiritual view a situation or a concept, simply holding the emotion in compassion diffused it. Once there was no longer any emotional charge, I could then hold the person, situation or concept in love.
Within days, I noticed a dramatic change in my thought habits. I also noticed a dramatic change in my interactions. Rather than responding to people from assumptions I had drawn, I was more inclined to ask questions that would help me gain greater clarity about them and their situations. Of course, there were times when I was still disappointed, but approaching people with compassion, created space for me to help people work through the challenges they were having that were ultimately leading to my disappointment.
Instead of being cranky, I found myself laughing with them about their foibles, working toward creative solutions, adjusting unreasonable expectations, and using the challenges as opportunities for me to respond in more conscious ways.
As a healer, I know that the more energy we put into negative or limiting thoughts about others or ourselves, the more likely we are to create a limiting and negative reality. The converse, of course, is also true. The more energy we put into loving, caring thoughts, the more we attract that reality into our lives.
If I’m blaming someone or something outside of myself for my illness or if I’m angry with myself for my current state of health, I’m distracting myself from the opportunity to access my personal healing energy. I become so engaged and absorbed in the negative energy and the assumptions that usually come with it that I’m denying myself the kind of pure, compassionate feelings that lead to healing discoveries, assistance and desired outcomes. I know because I’ve done it. I’ve been so angry that I have exacerbated injuries and illness. I have also found enough compassion to love myself into wellness.
The exercise was a great reminder that it is wise to periodically check in on your internal complaint department. If it is still in operation, it might be time to change the energy. Perhaps a well-founded complaint is at times appropriate. Perhaps eliminating the complaint department isn’t necessary, but keeping it down to a level where it isn’t frequent or running our thoughts, can only lead to greater peace and opportunities for solutions to the challenges we face.