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Friday, September 5, 2014

What Are Unhealthy Thoughts?--The Key Question

When unhealthy thoughts enter your mind, what have you found helpful in dealing with them? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1575).

I would change the above statement to read "When unfriendly thoughts enter your mind...." for indeed unhealthy thoughts are hurtful to yourself or others and are therefore profoundly unfriendly thoughts. Now the great feat is to discern which thoughts are truly unfriendly, and this is not an obvious or easy task.  Many thoughts can masquerade as righteous (even appearing our very conscience) which are in fact hurtful.  

Shirzad Chamine in Positive Intelligence identifies key unfriendly lies whispered to us by our mind patterns (which he calls Saboteurs).  To quote examples: Without me pushing you, you will get lazy and complacent (the Judge Saboteur); This is a personal obligation. It is up to me to fix whatever mess I encounter (the Stickler); I don't do this for myself. I help others selflessly and don't expect anything in return. The world would be better if everyone did the same (the Pleaser); Life is about achieving and producing results. Portraying a good image helps me achieve results. Feelings are just a distraction and don't help anything (the Hyper-Achiever); Sadness is a noble and sophisticated thing that shows exceptional depth, insight, and sensitivity (the Victim); Life is full of dangers. If I don't look out for them who will? (the Hyper-Vigilant); Life is too short. It must be lived fully. I don't want to miss out (the Restless); Without me, you can't get much done. You need to push people (the Controller); You are a good person to spare others' feelings (the Avoider).  [From pages 35-49. The relevant Saboteurs are noted in the parentheses I added above.]  They "...[for example the Judge] are the internal enemies. They are a set of automatic and habitual mind patterns, each with its own voice, beliefs, and assumptions that work against your best interest" (page 16).  In short, all of the thoughts above are used by your Saboteurs in unfriendly and hurtful ways, all the while lying--pretending that they are your very conscience embedded as it were by God.

I included the extensive quotes above for I think it very important--in fact the most important aspect of today's question--not to assume feelings of guilt are reliable guides in avoiding the unhealthy.  Guilt and its various sly intimidations can be used by unhealthy mind patterns to keep us from achieving positive spiritual growth and effective behavior.

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