For many years now, my strategy has been to attack my negative thoughts with great fervor and ferocity. The process worked to some degree. But it was a daily game of whack-a-mole where I bashed each thought as it entered my awareness. I could tell a thought was “bad” by the way it made me feel. In other words: whenever I felt bad, I would identify and eliminate whatever thought I caught stirring-up trouble in my mind. But in some sense, I resented my mind for presenting me with a limitless source of sour musings.
In addition to that, I adopted a worldview that allowed me to dismiss scary and worrisome concepts. This took a few years to take hold but I’m no longer plagued by fear. Now it’s mostly a general dissatisfaction that haunts me. Hunting down wayward thoughts doesn’t seem to be enough. I’ve recently started considering the importance of “feelings” and their prominence in the experience of existence. It seems strange to have dismissed their significance for so long.
Therefore, I’m currently engaged in an experiment in which I’m monitoring my feelings. Whereas I used to manage good/bad thoughts, it’s now good/bad feelings. But instead of bad feelings indicating a bad thought, I no longer care about the thought I was having – I must immediately change my feeling to a better one. This can be done by dumping into a pleasant daydream or by imagining what a particular pleasant feeling feels like. Feelings are relatively easy to manipulate.
Thoughts tend to fight back and resist. Feelings just kinda go with the flow. It’s easier to incite people with soap-operas than intellectual debate. You could explain how erroneous and corrupt someone is until you’re blue in the face – but if you mention how that person kicked a dog, it’s instant hate. The same thing happens with the mind, so skip the debate and just show it puppies. “Aww puppies!! So cute!!”