Recently, I was working with a client who was struggling with a negative obsessive thought. You know, the kind of thought that won’t go away and causes a ridiculous, often overwhelming amount of anxiety, fear, or anger. This is a demon thought that grabs hold of you and makes your life miserable.
Right now with the economic challenges, many are having demon thoughts about finances, managing debt, paying bills, securing retirement, giving your kids a college education, etc
The demon thoughts loop through your day and night with endless repetition leaving you feeling helpless. The demon thought has you – you don’t have the thought. These thoughts suck up your energy and can create a kind of paralysis in your motivations and activities. They disrupt and disturb your focus. Obsessive, repetitive thoughts throw your feeling life way out of balance.
Can you take charge of a demon thought? Yes, you can.
First, it helps to understand the biology of a demon thought. Our nervous system is designed for efficiency which means certain neural pathways get programmed and certain impulses develop patterns. These long-term patterns and tendencies are very effective but like any habit they can become a curse. When we are in states of stress certain aspects of the nervous system go automatically to a patterned mode of operation. When we are stressed out and a demon thought appears it gets sucked into our patterned, repetitive mode of operation and we are trapped.
Demon thoughts are inflamed thoughts circling through our consciousness in a closed loop breathing fire. Inflamation truly burns through our thought life and we lose the ability to deflame and cool down.
Under stress our capacity for free control of our thoughts is diminished as our biology overcomes our free consciousness. We go to survival mode. Our perception of reality and mastery gets overwhelmed by our need to survive a demon thought of doom and disaster.
How do we break free? How do we cool down our thinking? We must restore our creative will in our thought life in simple ways.
Here is a very effective exercise that transforms your thought life biologically and spiritually.
Begin with writing down the demon thought. Here are three simple examples that many of us will identify with:
I will have no way to earn money and will be on the street.
If I leave this relationship I will be alone forever.
This mark on my leg is a melanoma and I am going to die.
Write the thought a few more times, perhaps getting more specific. Some of us will find we need to write a paragraph or two. If you need to do this, go ahead but them reduce it down to the core experience. Each time you write it down you are in control of the thought. You are getting the thought outside your body.
You can also begin to write down the sensation and emotions that are attached to the thought. Often simply focusing on the sensation will reduce the intensity and power of the demon thought.
Sick to my stomach and very scared, I just want to vomit.
A tightening vise around my heart and a grief so deep and heavy I want to scream but I have no voice..
My gut is burning and I am raging yet helpless.
This writing down is naming. When we can put a name on and describe a demon thought and the feelings and sensations of the thought, we begin to have power over it. In a strange way, we find a sense of balance, maybe a little wobbly, but the deed of articulating in writing, changes our relationship to the thought.
Now take the demon thought and begin to evolve it. Eventually, taking it into a higher meaning. You can do this just one word at a time or add a new phrase to the thought. Try changing the punctuation from a period or and exclamation point to a question mark. You become the transformer of the thought and the creator of a new reality.
I will have no way to earn money and will be on the street. I am doomed and stupid.
Have I no way to earn money now? I do have a home today. I have time.
I have a way to earn money although I don’t know what it is.
I can make a list of my skills and learn new ones.
With these skills I can make a contribution to others and support myself.
I will make a list of the skills I already have and the ones I want to develop.
I will ask my friends what talents I have.
Eventually, as you take charge of metamorphosing the demon thought, you will get to new feelings and sensations. Begin to notice moments of freedom and love appearing like little twinklings of light. When you reach a higher expression, write down an action to take – this will release the sense of paralysis and victimhood.
This writing exercise develops the capacity to control your thoughts. Biologically, the exercise builds cognitive strength, agility and grace. Spiritually, it raises the dominion of your higher self over your stuck and instinctual patterns.
Other ways to achieve this are more artistic. Use the written thought to be the basis for a poem or a painting. With this artistic approach, I suggest you follow the Joseph Conrad wisdom, “In the destructive element, immerse.” Demon thoughts get their power from our resistance. Stop resisting, dance with your demon thoughts. Remember to use the art to express your emotions and sensations. Most importantly give your self permission to write a bad poem or paint a bad picture so you don’t let perfection to keep you from full expression of the demon. These are artistic exercises and healings to be explored and understood and not works of art to praised or critiqued.
I do want to say that there are some of us who have serious neurochemical imbalances, food allergies, toxic environments or post-traumatic stress disorder and though these exercises will be helpful, we may not be able to conquer the demon. These individuals need to seek professional assistance. Do not be ashamed. Seek help.
Learning how to deal with demon thoughts can begin in childhood. You can lead your children through these exercises. Be mindful of how you approach this with children under the age of 9. With young children, tell them fairy tales. Help them see the demon thoughts as stories waiting to be told so that the “happy ending” can be found. As they learn the comfort of your story-telling they will then know that when they get scared, sad or angry, you can guide them into a sense of personal strength. Eventually they will realize that they are their own storyteller. (How I wish my parents had empathized with me and been story-telling mirrors to my developing life of thought.)
If you succeed with this exercise and want to share your process with the readers of the Live In Full Bloom blog – please share it in the comments. Also if you have difficulty, share it with us and you will get help from me and others. Thank you.