Haven't Got Time for the Pain
 Bernie Siegel

  
Our hotel room was robbed one evening while we were at dinner.  I think I know who did it because on our way down to the restaurant we saw a suspicious-looking man loitering in the hallway near our room.  I had a good look at him while we waited for the elevator, and when we returned to our room and found our belongings had been removed, I could picture his face perfectly.

The man took my clothes and a fur coat I bought Bobbie when we were in the Netherlands.  He also took jewelry that had been in Bobbie's family for years and was precious to us--because of its family history.  We reported the theft and gave the police a detailed description of the burglar.  Bobbie and I talked about the loss for a while and then went to bed.  The next morning, when I tried to do my meditation, I was disturbed by the picture of the man in the hallway and by thoughts of what I would like to do to him.  The same thing happened the next morning, and every morning thereafter.  Even after we'd checked out of the hotel and returned home, the man's face followed me, and angry thoughts disturbed my morning meditations.

When several weeks had passed and I was still angry over our loss and violation, I realized the burglar was in charge of my thoughts and my life.  That morning I decided to reclaim my life and thoughts.  I spontaneously visualized the man bringing his children Christmas presents that he purchased with the money he obtained when he sold our possessions.

As I pictured the scene, I thought to myself, "If I had known what he was going to do, I would have left a few dollars on the bedside table for him so he could bring his children some really lovely gifts."  I finished the visualization smiling, and never again did the man in the hallway trouble my thoughts.  Now and then I smile thinking of him and his children.

You can point out that the burglar probably spent the money on drugs rather than his children.  Maybe he did.  It makes no difference to me what he did with our belongings.  I am free because of the change in me.  I helped our son Jeff do the same thing when his home was robbed, only this time the robber bought his mother a birthday present.  Now Jeff laughs about the incident and my irrational thinking.  But it works.

I was listening on the car radio to Carly Simon singing, "I Haven't Got Time for the Pain."  There is wisdom in that song.  Our time here is limited.  We don't have the luxury of extra time to spend in pain.  Some pain may be necessary--for instance, the pain that protects you from an injury or leads you to respond to the needs of others.  But the pain you feel when something or someone is disturbing your life and thoughts is not useful, and you will be happier when you resolve the problem and reclaim your life.

The burglar taught me that events are not my problem.  My thoughts about the events are the problem.  This is fortunate, because I can't change the things that have happened but I can change my thoughts about them.

What thoughts are so important that it is worth holding on to them even when they make you miserable?  Why are you holding on?  You are in charge of your thoughts and feelings.  If you are willing to search for the reason that you can't let go of disturbing thoughts, you can learn about yourself and restore your own peace of mind.

If something controls you in a way that puzzles you, think of it as a mystery.  Mysteries are best approached by closing your eyes and mouth to experience darkness and silence.  I find new and healing images in that dark, silent place away from emotions that control me.  Do not be afraid to close your eyes and be silent in prayer, meditation, rest or sleep.  In those states you may rediscover a new self.  Then your life, time and thoughts will become yours again and you can live your unique myth.

You are in charge of your visions, images and feelings, and you can transform the ones that disturb you.  What haunts you like the man in the hallway haunted me?  What thoughts control you and cause you to suffer?  It could be thoughts about something someone did to you, or you may be distress about something someone did to someone else.  You could be feeling guilt over something you did.  Think about the event and your reaction to it.  See if you can find a solution and let go of the painful thoughts, resolve the problem and regain peace of mind.  If you are puzzled, close your eyes.  Go to a dark and silent place, away from the emotions, light a candle and see what healing images you find or what words you hear to solve your puzzle.

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The biggest quality in successful people I think is an impatience with negative thinking. . . .
How many opportunities come along?  If you wait for the right one, that's wrong,
because it may never be right, and what have you got to lose?  Even if it's a disaster,
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And that doesn't mean you can't do it again.

Edward McCabe

   

  

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Imagine your mind as a garden and thoughts as the seeds you plant.  Habitual negative,
unhealthy, self-critical thoughts produce the weeds and thistles of depression, discontent,
and anxiety in the garden of your mind.  Luckily, the opposite is also true.
Consistently planting positive, healthy, constructive thoughts will yield a crop
of beautiful feelings, such as gratitude, love, and joy.

Sue Patton Thoele