When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, practice inner silence. This means:
- Stopping outer talking- do not allow yourself to say anything negative to or about the person or situation
- Stopping inner talking- let your mind keep silent. You might find it helpful to think of the words as being poisonous to your own spiritual state, so poisonous that you will not touch them with your lips or your mind.
This week’s task is very simple, and can be very difficult. It involves two challenges. The first is from the Bible: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3. The lips are compared to a door because they can be open or shut. There are times when we are in a negative mood and need to be careful what we say. Words can wound. Words once spoken cannot be taken back. There are times when the best thing we can do is to say nothing at all. We may not be able to control our feelings of resentment, jealousy or anger, but we can watch what we actually say.
The second challenge can be more difficult. It is to “set a guard” over the words we say in our thoughts. You may have noticed that we talk a lot in our heads. Sometimes we even move our lips while doing so (making sure no one notices). It is very hard to think without having our mind form our thoughts into words. As we know, some of these words can be mutterings, like “imagine doing something so stupid”, or “why don’t they do something about that?”
We may not realize that just as spoken negative words can be harmful, unspoken ones can be harmful to our spiritual state. Practicing “inner silence” is a discipline of letting go of our mind’s inner conversation. This discipline can be hard to do, and can be very beneficial to our peace of mind.