Just as trying to grow tomatoes in weedy rocky soil does not usually give good results, trying to overlay positive information into an operating system that is full of trash is not very effective. And whether you are working in your vegetable garden or in your own mind, in order to clean things out you need to be able to look at what is there and make good decisions in choosing what stays and what goes.
The power of observation can pave the way for change. To spend time in quiet observation does not require being able to sit in a cross legged position, but it does requires the willingness to allow yourself to become familiar with how you are thinking. This can be a scary business if emotional overwhelm erupts in reaction to your thoughts and causes you to lash out at others or turn shame in on yourself. Common ways to try to avoid dealing with those feelings include staying very busy with doing and/or self medicating. Both of those patterns tends to make the shadow behaviors stronger when they do break loose.
In order to be able to look at what we want to change, it is helpful to call upon a part of ourselves that can see what is going on without having to react to it. That facet of self is often called The Witness, and to look without judging or reacting creates a workspace for positive change. Cultivating the point of view of “isn’t that interesting how I do that" rather than “I’m lazy, crazy, bad or ugly” allows us to observe how we operate, and make decisions about what we want to do differently. If you simply notice the thoughts that come into your mind and let them pass on through, they do not have power over you. They are just thoughts. Witnessing your thoughts without reacting to them can actually generate new neurological pathways in the brain, facilitating new choices in behavior and emotion. And these new choices can be the foundation for healthier relationships, achieving your goals, and finding more fulfillment. To put it simply, perhaps the easiest way to be happy is to stop holding onto thoughts that make you unhappy.
“We are all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honor who we’ve been and choose who we want to be next.” Doctor Who