Thoughts About Thinking
Those who are so used to thinking in the negative mode are much less likely to start questioning or challenging those 'bad' thoughts - they just accept them as fact...
by Dr. Zev Ballen
Psychologists have studied the way we think, and they've discovered that whatever we think about the most frequently, that's what we think is the “truth”. To put it another way, the ideas and thoughts we are most familiar with seem the most “true” to us, whereas we will question less familiar or frequent thoughts, and ask a lot more questions about whether they are really true.
Let's see how this works in practice: Let's say that you're someone who is used to thinking a lot of negative, discouraging thoughts. You read something, or you had a discussion with someone, which explained how great it is to talk to G-d every day, or how wonderful it would be to adopt a more spiritual approach to living your life and solving your problems. This is a new idea, a new way of thinking.
All of a sudden, the negative thoughts that you are so familiar with kick in, telling you: "I don't know if I can do personal prayer… I don't know that I could keep the Sabbath… I don't know that I could give money away to charity every month…" Because you are so used to thinking in the negative mode, you are much less likely to start questioning or challenging those “bad” thoughts - you just accept them as fact.
But it doesn't have to be like this. Once people get to the point of realizing that just because they are thinking something, that doesn't make it true, that's when they have a window of opportunity to start thinking in a new, positive, helpful and hopeful way.
The reality of our life is our holy soul. Whatever is going on inside of us, that's really the only reality with which we have to deal. We might be going bankrupt, and we might have no money to pay the rent, but we don't have to worry about it! If we've been to a trusted rabbinical authority, and we've been told that we'll see miracles in our financial situation very soon, then we don't have to continue to worry about what will be. Our job now is simply to believe in the positive aspect of the blessing and that it will imminently happen.
How many worries have never materialized? Why let all those phantom worries poison our inner reality? Any negative, discouraging thoughts that we have don't come from G-d, so why do we insist on listening to thoughts from the other side? After all the broken promises to do better and to be better; after all the chances to improve and change and fix things that we muffed - we are still alive and healthy. G-d is still giving us another chance, and another chance, to do it again, and this time, to do it right.
We all have a very clear choice to make: either, we can listen to falsehood, which is all negativity, discouragement, despair, and disillusion; or, we can listen to truth, which fills us with hope, and joy and makes us feel alive.
Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: email@example.com. You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.