Dispersing a Plague of Negative Thoughts

lizzard mind loop - Negative ThoughtsOne of the more distressing manifestations of grief — along with the clenching heart pain, bottomless sorrow, mind fog and exhaustion — is an unrelenting loop of disturbing thoughts.

I am particularly susceptible to this sort of misery because I am born under the sign of Aquarius, which loves the airy heights of the mind. I do hang out in my head a lot. Mostly, I enjoy my thoughts. They are pretty interesting and entertaining. But not when they are negative and disempowering — exactly the sort of thoughts grief brings.

The grief thought-cycle often goes like this:

You wake up and blam, you remember your loss. This is followed by a series of thoughts about how awful you feel and that it will never end and that for the rest of your life you will be alone and unloved. Other thoughts may join these thoughts such as how you were responsible for the loss. If only you had done or said such-and-such, it would have made all the difference. Or you might be harassed by a particularly vivid and intense replay of some part of the final days/hours/moments of your relationship. As you move through your day, a whole variety of stimuli – object, events, music, smells, actions –  will recall the loss and set the thought loop in motion.

You are literally whipsawed back and forth between the past of what you did or didn’t do and the bleak projected wasteland of the future, all day long.

I am intimately familiar with this pattern as it comprised much of my life following the break-up of my first marriage in the mid 80’s. These thoughts can be so relentless and unsettling that the griever may seek refuge in drink, drugs, television, hyper busy-ness or wherever else it may be found. Any of these will provide a respite. None of them, however, will move you toward resolution and healing.

I was fortunate to have access to another strategy of relief during those grief years: the Sufi work. If you read my blog post, A Breath of Heaven, you already know how the workshops of Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan enabled me to relinquish my failing marriage and open to a new life.

The Sufi work was like an oasis in the desert of my mind, a place where I could go to receive a thirst-quenching drink of peace. I held on to that knowledge of peace throughout my grief journey and dipped into its refreshing spring whenever my teacher or his students provided classes.

The Sufi work taught me how to meditate through movement.

tranceDance 2Meditation is the best method for stopping the plague of negative thoughts. But only after you’ve mastered it. If you have every tried to meditate by sitting quietly on the floor, you know how difficult this can be when your mind is engulfed by negative thoughts.

Movement gives the mind a place to focus and to follow. It leads the mind away from thoughts and into the present moment. In the moment, suffering ceases.

If you examine your negative thoughts you will discover that they are either recollections of the past with a negative spin, or dismal projections into the future. In the moment, these thoughts cease to have meaning.

The Sufi work assisted my rudimentary meditation practice through the energetic pull of the teacher and the other students. When you meditate, you literally vibrate at a higher frequency. This vibration is amplified by other people, particularly those who are accomplished at meditative states. You can feel yourself shift into another state of consciousness just by being near a master. You feel a contact high.

In those months of grief, I did Sufi work as often as I could and listened to my teachers tapes when I couldn’t. It released me from the grip of negative thoughts.

Does the Sufi work heal grief by itself? I would say no. Healing a grieving body requires rebuilding the neural networks of the brain, the energy fields around of the body and the stories of the mind. This takes time and effort. But the Sufi work helps. It makes grief more manageable, shifts the mind into a more positive space and provides a needed respite from the pain of healing.

For more on the Sufi Work: CLICK HERE.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief, Loss and Death Expert Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps professional women struggling with grief and loss to have peace-of-mind, closure and a life worth living. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at www.secretsoflifeanddeath.com

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