(Don’t) Think!

Apr 26, 2021

Remember the Thought Police from the novel ‘1984’?

There was a good reason for trying to control people’s thoughts in the totalitarian state George Orwell wrote about, because your thoughts govern how you feel.

And how you feel decides how you act, react and live – in fact, pretty much everything.

What you are thinking creates what you are feeling.

This is such a simple statement, but so profound in its implications.

Suppose someone misinformed wrongly criticises an aspect of your work which you know to be good. Let’s imagine two different scenarios.

First imagine that because you know that actually the work is good, what they say does not affect your thoughts. You listen to their opinion courteously, but pay no more attention to what they said afterwards. So you as a person are unaffected, your afternoon of work is productive, and you go home feeling fine.

Now imagine that the same someone criticises your work, and even though you know they are wrong, you dwell on what they said, turning it over and over in your mind. You start to feel insecure about what you have produced and you feel bad about yourself. So you become withdrawn and miserable, you are completely unproductive for the rest of the day leaving you feeling worse and with a lot of work to do after hours. You go home late in a terrible mood, miss the evening meal, upset your partner, go late to bed and do not sleep and wake up feeling worse still.

Two scenarios with very different end results – but where the only difference in the cause was your thoughts.

The interesting thing about this is that the only person having your thoughts is you, and that whilst you may not be able to change the thoughts that come, you can choose how much attention you pay them.

It can be a bit like some aspects of having a toddler. If your toddler is having a tantrum about nothing that you can see is wrong, you can spend ages trying to pacify them by offering them cuddles / toys / a story / ANYTHING AT ALL to stop the screaming. Sometimes this works – but a lot of the time it just seems to prolong the tantrum, almost as if you are feeding it. Whereas if you can manage to be kind but firm, offer help or a listening ear, and then just ignore the tantrum (whilst keeping an eye on their safety of course – this is a toddler we are talking about!) sometimes they just calm down. Without attention the tantrum does not flourish.

It’s all very well to talk about ignoring negative thoughts, but it can be very hard to stop having them. They keep coming sometimes, like bubbles out of a bubble machine (1).

But we can choose not to pay them attention. It takes practice, but when you get those thoughts that really make it difficult to keep going – you know the ones:

“I can’t do this, I just can’t.”

“This is never going to work.”

“I’m not good enough – I’ll never do anything worthwhile.”

“You’re a complete waste of space. You’re worse than rubbish.”

“You always mess up.”

“Who wants to listen to you, you know nothing?”

“What if the car coming towards me swerves and hits me? What happens if I slide on the ice and break my leg? What happens if I drop the shopping – I can’t go back and queue again, I can’t!”

The best approach is not to deny the thoughts are there. (You know what it’s like when somebody tells you not to think of an elephant – in a trice your mind is full of nothing else.)

Just let the negative thoughts go. Look at the thought bubbles as they appear – and then let them float away and pay them no more mind. Be vaguely curious about them if you want – but look at them as separate from you, not part of you.

Think of your negative thoughts as a cloud formation passing by – “Oh, there they are again.”

They float in and you can just let them drift away. They have nothing to do with who you actually are and what you bring to the world. They are just random thoughts – even the ones you’ve had before. They have no meaning in and of themselves. The only meaning they have is what we choose to given them.

You can just let them go.

In the words sung by the immortal Aretha Franklin in the song ‘Think’ in the ‘Blues Brothers’ film

“Let your mind go, Let yourself be free.”

After all, if you are faced with brambles or bindweed in your garden, you don’t rush off and get a bag of fertiliser to help them along, do you?

It’s the same with negative thoughts. Don’t spend time arguing with them, trying to convince yourself about how right or wrong they are. That’s like fertilising and watering the weeds in your mind garden. Let them die of lack of attention.

People all over the world have negative thoughts, every day. But they (mostly) don’t act on them – and what a good thing! Instead, concentrate on your good thoughts, on your happy memories, and let them warm and lighten your mind and spirit.

Imagine getting dressed each morning. On the chair directly in front of the bed is the grey shapeless stuff you wore yesterday and the day before. Habit and the fact that it’s in front of you mean you have put it on before you even think about it. And governed by your grey thoughts, your feelings and your day is likely to have a lot of grey in it.

But wait a second. Don’t you have some green trousers and a deep red pullover in the cupboard? Put them on instead and look in the mirror and smile at yourself. By thinking more positively you can make yourself feel more positive, which will make you act more positively, and your day will be more positive.

Of course, it is not as easy as the words on a page can imply, but your thoughts cause your feelings – and you can let your thoughts go if you keep practising.

Homeopathy can really help with this process because it often seems to offer an incredible change of perspective, and that can change how you relate to your thoughts – as well as what thoughts you have in the first place.

I remember in Mary Wesley’s book “The Camomile Lawn“, Hector Grant, recovering from a fever in hospital during the Second World War, decides to plant a wood with flowering cherry trees in it, so that the blossom will spell his wife’s name (Calypso) when seen from the air by some future airman.

Homeopathy can offer you a helicopter change view of your own wood.

It doesn’t alter the number of trees on the ground, or where they are planted, but it helps you see things from a different perspective. The problem is just the same as before but now there is a bit of space between you and it. You are looking at it from a different place and it is no longer overwhelming you. You can see things that were not apparent before, and you have an idea of how to move forwards.

You can see the wood as well as the trees. And you may even be able to see the blossom too!

If you would like to read about what sort of changes other people have described to get a better idea of what homeopathy can do, click HERE.

« Que la terre est petite à qui la voit des cieux ! » Jaques Delile(2).

« How small is the earth to him who looks from heaven. »

(Quoted in Madeleine L’Engle’s marvellous “A Wrinkle In Time”.)


(1) This is Ian Watson’s simile, and I think it’s a great one. You can find out more about Ian at https://www.theinsightspace.com.

(2) – Jaques Delile, 1738-1813, was illegitimate child from a poor background in France who rose quickly to the rank of professor and became a popular and celebrated poet.


Picture credits:

Bubbles: kid-circus-3XSELqbbo3E-unsplash

Elephant: keyur-nandaniya-3isjMlIlj4A-unsplash

Cherry blossom: sam-MHpu5zt13uA-unsplash

The portion of the book cover in the picture at the top of this blog is a photo of my copy of the Penguin Modern Classics edition of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four with the cover picture showing detail from ‘The Control Room, Civil Defence Headquarters’ by William Roberts in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, (photo Rodney Todd-White.)