This is a transcript of my message: Thought Antidotes
Given a Unity Fayetteville 1/27/19
Watch this talk on You Tube here
Thought Antidotes (This is a transcript and is written as spoken)
There is a monster in this room. You can't see it … but it is HUGE. And it is scary and it has purple scraggly hair, long sharp claws and big sharp teeth and muddy feet and its pointing at me and sneering at me and saying you don't know what you are talking about sit down! Or not … it is ….Whatever I say it is. Because this monster is fear and I created it. And since I created I can also make it go away. Or better yet, since it is simply energy created by thought…I can transform it from what scares me to what soothes me. That may actually be easier than just trying hard to make it go away. Oooooo. Now the big monster is... not so big, about 2 inches shorter than me actually. And his scraggly hair is soft fluffy fur and he is smiling at me. His claws have turned into big soft paws and his arms are outstretched to me and he is saying you can do it!
Ahhh. Doesn't that feel better? Don't we all feel better? We just transformed the landscape of our mind by guiding our thoughts away from fear and visualizing our preferred outcome. If we want to heal our lives and our bodies, to heal our relationships and our connection to our divine purpose this is where we start - healing the mind. And we know this all too well in the new thought community.
And when I say the mind I am not talking about the brain I am talking about the internal landscape that is created by our thoughts, and how they interact with the energy of our spirit.
Now this does ultimately affect the brain and the body temple … but for now I want to focus on the mind. Spirit and thought, and the energy they create together.
One of the most profound teachings in my life about the nature of the mind came to me from Buddhist philosophy and I want to share this with you because it healed me in a very dark time in my life. It brought me back from the brink of debilitating depression and heartbreak. In Buddhism they speak of the 3 poisons of the mind - which we could talk about at great length, but that would be a whole different talk. But they also talk about the antidotes to these poisons and to negative harmful emotions in general. These antidotes are thoughts that quickly counter and calm the mind, guiding the way toward healing. That teaching resonated deeply with me during that intensely difficult time in my life. It is medically proven how persistent negative thoughts adversely affect our brains and do indeed act as a poison. It was soothing to me to know that the antidote to this poison was within easy reach and I only needed to have it ready. I was hurting and confused. I didn't always have the space or clarity to adequately process my emotions. I needed a quick remedy that could just get me through to the next moment. Like so many wise spiritual teachings that resonate with me in my life, I blend them, work with them and tweak them, and listen to my heart til I find what serves me best. Thought antidotes blended very well with new thought and gave me a fresh perspective. I liked the idea of medicine for the mind and Thought Antidotes are really one of the best medicines ever.
So this is a blend of buddhist and new thought teaching that i developed for myself and it worked so well that I want to share it with you. And here is a definition that we can use a reference guide: Thought antidotes are specific thoughts designed to counteract and neutralize negative unwanted thoughts that are no longer serving our higher good. They are prepared ahead time and are taken as needed. They primarily do 3 things and their benefits are far reaching. They reset our perspective aligning us with our true nature, they counteract specific unhelpful thoughts neutralizing them, and they plant new seeds for lasting wellbeing.
Using thought antidotes is a two part process. And very similar to physical antidotes ...Part one is learning nature of the poison or the unwanted thoughts that are doing more harm than good in our lives and being able to recognize them when they appear. Part two is learning how to make the antidote, and how to administer it.
So let’s start with part one, the nature of the poison or the monster in the room.
Raise your hand if you don’t ever worry about anything. (No one did)
Worry and fear are essentially the SAME thing. I think we could honestly find that the source of all our negative thoughts is fear. Dare I say Fear is the biggest challenge any of us will ever have about anything. “ All we have to fear….” It stops us, from asking for help, from asking for a raise, from asking for an apology, from saying how we really feel, from taking the next big step, from believing in ourselves and being ourselves. Most importantly the big what if’s stemming from fear stops us from living our dream. What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail? What if I embarrass myself and then everyone will think I’m a idiot. It makes us put up walls or blocks, which don't just block the THING we think we are blocking. But it blocks a way for spirit to come in too.
Think back to a time when fear STOPPED you from doing something that you really wanted to do. Or made you do something you would NEVER do. Who’s in charge here after all? Fear? Is fear in charge of your life? So how can we change that? How can we be the ones in charge?
The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked him all night long with everything he had: fear, lust, greed, anger, doubt, etc. When his attack failed, Mara left in disarray on the morning of the Buddha’s enlightenment. But it seems Mara was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had become deeply revered throughout India, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances.
Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge his presence, saying, “I see you, Mara.”
He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest. Offering Mara a cushion so that he could sit comfortably, the Buddha would fill two earthen cups with tea, place them on the low table between them, and only then take his own seat. Mara would stay for a while and then go, but throughout Mara’s visit the Buddha remained free and undisturbed.
The buddha teaches us here that the first key in conquering our fears and the poisonous thoughts that arise from them is to recognize them, to face them, to have tea with them. I literally did this. I had tea with my fears at that very dark time in my life when I was studying these teachings. Want to hear the story?
Back when I was a *roving* hippie singer songwriter with no permanent residence spent a couple of winters in Fayetteville. I was living in Jori Costello’s Dojo in the winter of 2010/2011, with all my demons and my broken heart aching. I cried all the time. I cried every night and every morning. And in between all that crying I was meditating studying… reaching for all my tools and also all my crutches. Then one morning I woke up saying to myself I am tired of crying! I don't want to waste any more of my precious time giving my peace of mind to someone else who is not even there. The buddhist studies were sinking in. And that’s when I decided that instead being traumatized by my painful thoughts and fears over and over again, and spending so much of my energy trying to distract myself from them and shut them out…. I would invite them to tea.
There was a little round table in the dojo that was perfect for this. And my very vivid imagination was helpful here. I brought my demons of that time in one by one and gave them a physical look as part of me. So my fear of rejection was over to my right ME frumpy and disheveled ,,, looking very unattractive and unwanted. Jealousy was over here looking angry and mean wearing camo. And self doubt was over here having an anxiety attack and a very bad hair day. Those were the main ones I was dealing with. So then I was like well what do I do now? Cause the book didn't say what to do when you are having this tea. So I actually went through the motions while I thought of what to do next. After a bit I decided to ask them some questions. Which was scary cuz I wasn't sure if I was going to like their answers very much. But here we all were so I did it anyway. I turned to my Fear of rejection and said … “what are you doing here?” And he said You invited me! And that hit me hard. Yes I did didn’t I? Everyday all the time I invite you in don’t I? So I asked another question. So what can I do to get rid of you? And he said … “Stop fearing rejection.” OK now that is just too simple and straightforward for this very complex analytical mind. But god is it really that simple? This is the kind of question you ask yourself when you’re having tea with your demons. It went on like that, I asked them all different questions: where did you come from and why are you in my life and how can I get rid of you...and when I decided the tea was over I felt … sort of better sort of wiser. I at least felt pretty good about the fact that I had done it. I had had tea with my demons just like the Buddha. But it wasn’t this big liberating thing… until later.
When Fear of Rejection and Self Doubt showed up again… I was like. Oh hello again. I see you Mara. I know you… had tea with you, we talked,. You're not so scary because I am beginning to understand you.
I invite you to try this exercise, of having tea with your fears. It is a great way to get to know them. But you should do it in a safe space where you are in not danger of someone looking through the window and saying OMG she lost it.
Really. It is an exercise in mindfulness. As we witness calmly and without judgement the demons or poisons in our mind we prepare the way for antidotes to work and know just where they need to go. And learning to see and face your fears is one of the greatest skills we will ever acquire. Because confronting fear is almost always the first step in healing.
So part one of using thought antidotes is recognizing and understanding our fears,
The second part of using Thought Antidotes is learning to make and apply the antidotes.
The definition of Antidote is a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.
Counter - act is the key here. Thought antidotes are specific thoughts designed to counteract and neutralize negative unwanted thoughts that are no longer serving our higher good. They are prepared ahead time and are taken as needed when “Mara” or any of your demons show up. They primarily do 3 things. They reset our perspective aligning us with our true nature, they counteract specific unhelpful thoughts neutralizing them, and they plant new seeds for lasting well being.
To align with our true nature its helps if we understand our true nature:
What is our True Nature? We are divinely created children of love. This is why thoughts and actions of love bring us joy, healing and literally well-being. And thoughts arising from fear if left unchecked bring us depression, sickness and stress. Our True nature arises from love and is divine, infinite, eternal, reaching beyond time and full of potential. Like the Sky.
Paul Levey Said
The intrinsic purity of our true nature can be likened to how the clouds in the sky, though apparently obscuring the clear nature of the sky, in actuality never sully the deeper, spacious nature of the sky one iota. Though both the clouds and the sky are present together, the clouds never become a part of nor touch the space-like nature of the sky. And yet, from another point of view, clouds are actually an expression an adornment of the sky, inseparable from the sky, in the sense that they emerge out of and dissolve back into the sky.
Our true nature is like a spacious, empty openness in which the endless variety of thoughts arise, momentarily have their existence, and in which they dissolve.
You are the Sky - everything else is just the weather. Pema Chodron Said that.
You are the Sky ...That is your first thought antidote. Because it immediately puts things in a proper perspective and reminds you of your true nature. The words used to describe the sky... Open, peaceful, radiant, Infinite, beyond time, and full of potential. What does that also describe? Spirit, God, Creator. When you think the thought antidote “I am the sky” - you align with your true nature and open and clear your mind in a single thought.
The other two things that thought antidotes do is counteract the unwanted thoughts, and plant new seeds so that when nurtured take firm root in the landscape of our mind. Making a more beautiful healthy space and keep it that way.
Let’s try an example how thought antidotes work
I can't do this! I can't do this! I can't do this! Oh hello Mara … I remember you. You’re self doubt aren’t you? We had tea! You’re not so scary… I know why you’re here and other things about you as well. That was part one … I recognized the fear. Now part two I have the thought antidote right here and ready to go.
I am the sky. And “I can’t do this” is just a cloud passing by not really touching me. You know what? I bet i really can do this, I maybe just need to try a different way. Maybe just take a break and a few deep breaths and call my friend who might have some ideas for me on how I can do this. ANd if it doesn’t work that’s OK. I will try a different way tomorrow. This is my joy and therefore the universe supports me.
Plant the seed: It’s more likely that I actually can do this
Plant the seed: if it doesn’t work that’s OK I’ll just try another way.
Plant the seed: This is my joy and therefore the universe supports me.
So you see how that works?: You can use thought antidotes for any unwanted thoughts that do not serve your highest good. Those are thoughts that make you afraid to do something you love or make you feel bad or depressed about who you are. We live in a difficult world and there are going to be times of pain and fear and depression, and that's OK. But when they take charge of your life and stop you from moving forward... that's when it is time for a little help from some energy medicine. And our mind is the great energy maker. The antidote would be its counter-part or its opposite. Thoughts that are solution oriented, make you feel better not worse and give hope, clarity and motivation.
Here's another example:
OMG theres my boss and I am supposed to do my review today and I really want to ask him for a raise but what if he thinks I’m too pushy and fires me! I am freaking OUT! . Oh hello Mara, fear of rejection, I see you. I invited you in again didnt it I? Well you know what? I have the antidote right here and ready.
Ok yes i’m scared and that’s ok. I am not "freaking out" I am the sky and the clouds are freaking out, And really it is my right to ask for a raise. I have worked hard and I deserve it. I am worth it! And maybe if he gives me a hard time about asking for a raise that is spirits way of saying I belong somewhere else and I should start looking for another job on my lunch break.
Plant the seed “I am worth it”
Plant the seed “I deserve to be appreciated”
Plant the seed “Spirit wants me where I am supported and rewarded”. Hey this is an awesome garden!
So you get it. Using thought antidotes has two parts; first know you fear recognized when it comes, second have your thought antidote ready when mara appears. Making the antidotes is a fun project because of all the good it does in your life. It takes some prep work and some research to find out what your thought demons are, where they come from and what your specific antidotes are, but doing this work ahead of time when you are calm is the key. I invite you today when you have a few extra minutes to single out a couple of your most troubling thoughts and see if you can pin point the fears they come from. Then prepare your thought antidotes. Remember they must do 3 things; reset our perspective to our true nature, counteract the thought that does not serve, and plant new seeds.
So to close lets do a mindfulness meditation. Lets spend some time revealing in our true nature. Let's be the sky; vast, open, unchanging, clear, infinite, eternal.
Our Thoughts are impermanent. Arising and dispersing in a constant flow.
As thoughts creep in let them do so without judgement. Just observe them as they change the weather while remembering that nothing at all can touch you.
What is permanent about the mind is its fertile nature. What we nurture within it, will grow. So just below your sky I invite you to place a brand new garden and you can take home with you today and keep and nurture always. As you nurture your thought antidotes this is the spot where you will place the seeds. Imagine the deep nutrient rich soil, and *you* will provide just the right amount of radiant soul shine to always warm and give light to these healing thoughts that are growing and flourishing in your mind.
I invite you to plant this seed right now. I am love and with love ....all things are possible.