“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones”
Confucius The Analects
I have found that the biggest challenge to living a happy life is the attention we give to the past. You see, when you think or give attention to some event that is dead and gone, you then give life to it in your present. Not to say that we each do have memories worthy of proper attention. It is just we should do a better job at deciding what we importantly think about.
In a past life I would meet young incarcerated men on a daily basis as a Case Worker. These men ran the full gamut of petty thief to mass murder convictions. Many were of the self harm vs. staff harm variety. In more than 9 out of 10 cases, Inmate behavior emulated that of a wild monkey prior to calming down. I found it always interesting to question each on the reasons for their behavior, especially after their exhausting yelling and pounding, (some cases, severe self harm), episodes.
In all “monkey behavior” cases each had intense concentration of an emotional past event. So much so that they relived the event all over again. Many of us do just that and do not realize the harm we bring into our lives.
Controlled thinking was a technique borrowed from those with specialized degrees and can also benefit those of us who in many ways are just one angry tirade away from incarceration. If I remember correctly, you would write down on a piece of paper, so later you could reuse in times of need; two categories, troubling thoughts and thankful truths. On the left side would be the troubling thoughts and on the right side would be the latter.
For example, Troubling – failed marriage; Thankful – loving brother, sister, parents. Invariably the truth of what we take for granted in our lives is what truly matters and how useless the act of dwelling on things we have no control over not only waste precious time but also causes so much useless pain.
Being aware is the start of change!