Ideas are powerful,

beliefs run your world,

and thoughts cut deeper than blades.

If you have ever found yourself in a depression, then you know this.

The tar mire of dreadful, hopeless thoughts reach out to grasp you in the very instant a little light shines through, like ghastly hands dragging a soul down to hell.

I know it well.

And I also know that I have the power to influence my thoughts.

I have the power to choose how I respond to my thoughts.

I have the power to allow my thinking-mind to think whatever it thinks – without taking it personally.

And so do you, Traveler.

self-harm

I realize that this is a potent concept to write about. I have friends who have taken blades to their bodies as a means of coping through deep emotional pain.

No judgement here. We all self-harm in various ways, some more obvious than others.

And that is why I am writing this article.

My own patterns of self-harming have become very clear to me over the years, and my method is not physical harm.

It is psycho-emotional harm.

Not to my physical body, but to my emotional body.

what is emotion?

An emotion is a thought traveling through the body.

We don't need to understand the biochemical mechanisms involved in this process, because we can intuitively understand this definition of emotion.

The body stores all kinds of emotional memory, both painful and pleasurable.

When we dwell on painful thoughts, this generates painful emotions that travel throughout the body, and these painful emotions often have physical effects on the body.

We can clearly see this mind-body connection in the case of a panic attack, for example.

If the physical body is effected by emotions, and emotions are thoughts moving through the body, then harmful thoughts can harm the body.

controlling thoughts

Can we actually control our thoughts?

To a degree, yes.

In the same way that we can control our breathing, we can control our thoughts.

The body will breathe all on its own, yet we can also consciously control the diaphragm to control our breathing.

The thinking-mind will think all on its own, yet we can also consciously control the thinking-mind to control our thoughts.

This takes practice.

And you can start right now.

Simply notice your thoughts: the ones you aren't consciously controlling, the ones that are happening all on their own...

Notice the overall flavor or theme of those thoughts. This can change rapidly – especially when we begin observing our thoughts.

Do your best. And when you have observed enough of those thoughts to notice the overall flavor...

Without judging that flavor as good or bad, notice this:

Do you like the flavor?

Or do you not like the flavor?

Using this model of preference rather than the model of judgment is an excellent step toward greater mental mastery.

You can also notice:

Are the thoughts painful, or are they pleasurable?

responding to automatic thoughts

This part is important.

The thinking-mind is simply a mechanism by which thoughts are generated in the mind.

Some of these thoughts are voluntary/ intentional/ conscious, while the vast majority of these thoughts are involuntary/ unintentional/ unconscious.

(In the same way that some breaths you take are voluntary/ intentional/ conscious, while the vast majority of your breaths are involuntary/ unintentional/ unconscious. This can change with practice.)

You perceive those involuntary thoughts, and in that moment of perception you have the opportunity to respond – rather than react – to those thoughts.

Your response to a thought matters far more than the content of the thought.

All of those involuntary thoughts are simply a measurement of the state of your psyche.

Just like a thermometer measures temperature, the automatic thinking-mind – or perhaps, the "psychometer" – measures the overall "psychic temperature" of your being.

If those involuntary thoughts are tending toward depressive themes, then this is merely a sign to respond to.

A sign is not a sentence, nor a diagnosis – only an indication of something to explore.

you are not your thoughts

This part is even more important!

That automatic thinking-mind, or "psychometer," is generating thoughts all day long based on so many nuanced stimuli that modern scientific practices still can't explain how it works.

You are not the one thinking all of those involuntary thoughts.

You are the one who witnesses the thoughts.

There is no good reason to judge yourself based on thoughts you are not even thinking yourself!

The psychometer is simply measuring the general mood of your psyche, showing you snapshots of what is happening within you (even beyond your conscious mind).

When you notice a painful thought, you can simply notice the painful thought.

It doesn't mean anything about who you are in a moral sense.

It doesn't mean something is wrong with you.

It means that your psychometer is functioning properly and giving you a look your Inner World.

The trouble happens when we try to suppress, ignore, or bypass these thoughts, instead of acknowledging them and working toward healing whatever is hurting us.

Involuntary thoughts are a response to your environment, both external and internal.

If your thoughts are depressive, it could be that your environment is effecting you negatively, and your psychometer is showing you this.

self-harming with thoughts

When we ruminate on painful thoughts, this is a form of self-harm.

Although we may do this out of ignorance because we are not yet fully aware of the mental control that is possible, it is self-harm nonetheless.

We latch onto a painful thought and roll it over and over and over again in the mind.

This thought becomes emotion as it moves through the body again and again, activating and reactivating the same wounds.

It's like picking at a scab.

Of course, there are moments of cathartic healing that involve a big release of emotion that was stored in the body, but these moments of catharsis usually don't involve thought at all, and they don't get stuck on repeat.

If you have ever been depressed, then you know exactly what it feels like to ruminate and reactivate and latch onto painful, debilitating, disempowering, hopeless thoughts.

how to stop self-harming with thoughts

Awareness is the first step. Once you are aware of your thoughts as not-you, then you can begin observing them from a more unattached perspective.

From there you can practice observing your thoughts without taking them personally. They don't mean anything about you as a person. They are showing you the state of your psyche in response to external and internal stimuli.

When you are able to allow your thoughts to be as they are without needing to change them nor judge them – nor yourself – then you can practice responding to your thoughts consciously, instead of reacting.

When we react, we are unconscious and have no choice. We tend toward taking things personally, and self-harming through rumination and latching onto painful thoughts.

When we respond, we are conscious and able to guide our behavior (both internal and external) with intention. And from that stance of intentional response, we are able to act in alignment with our desire and our will.

reactivating the will

From a place of psycho-emotional depression, it can be very challenging to feel your will. It can seem as if you have lost your will completely - even your will to continue living.

There is nothing wrong with you.

This a completely normal response to a completely dysfunctional society in which we are raised to be disconnected from our innate wisdom and our divine nature.

If you feel or have ever felt this way, all that means is:

you are sane.

Go figure, huh?

However, until we all come together to create a more mindful and sacred society that supports human potential and harmony with our planet...

we need to find healthier ways to cope.

And not only cope – thrive.

From where you are right now, thriving may not seem possible.

From where I am, however, I know it is possible.

I am nowhere near thriving in the way I know is possible. Honestly, I'm still pretty fucked up.

. . .

But hey! At least I admit it, and I know what to do about it, and I am doing something about it.

So there you have it. How do you reactivate your will? Well, as hard as it may seem,

you need to do something about it.

It could be anything.

Anything!

What do I recommend?

Create.

Make something.

Consuming as a means of medicating may seem like it works for a while...

but really it only leads to numbness and a dampening of your will.

If you would like some more motivation, validation, and perhaps even inspiration, read my previous post.

Believe me, Traveler...

I am writing about this because I know it well, and I know it well because I have been there often myself.

I am wishing you wellness in all ways, always. Until next time, farewell, Traveler!

Love,
Devin

ᛞᛏᛗᛗ


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how we self-harm with our thoughts 😓

Ideas are powerful, beliefs run your world, and thoughts cut deeper than blades.