The Mind Loops Blog – April 2022
I’m not Catholic. But the day Lent began, a friend sent me a text saying, “Lent starts today!”
I knew the basics of Lent: 40 days of giving something up.
This represents, and is in honor of, the 40 days Christ wandered the desert, fasting. He gave up food (and various other temptations presented to him) for those days – which is why, during Lent, people now give up something.
I thought, “I like this idea of giving up something for 40 days. What shall it be?”
The usual things people give up are sugar, meat, TV – and these days, social media. All useful choices.
I chose to give up: Complaining.
No complaining for 40 days. Definitely no complaints coming out of my mouth; and as much as possible, not even in my thoughts.
What IS a Complaint?
The first interesting aspect of this 40 day experiment was: As thoughts arose in my head, I wondered, Is
this a complaint?
I’d never really analyzed what a complaint IS. Are judgments complaints? Stating preferences?
Certainly whining and “poor me” and unkind, gossipy comments are.
After de-looping negative thoughts for so many years, I’m not a huge complainer; but I noticed, on several occasions, how badly I wanted to complain about something to my friend. I wanted to “share” something I was judging. Like the rain when I wanted sun. Or “did you notice the insincere greeting” from a mutual acquaintance.
This urge to share my complaint with my friend fascinated me. Why would I want to share that? And why was the urge so strong that I had to use willpower to not open my mouth?
What Fills the Mental “Vacuum”?
As the 40 days rolled on, I began to notice something unusual happening. My mind quieted down. A lot. And when the mind quiets… what is entering that “vacuum”?
Ask yourself that question the next time you meditate and feel the mental peace:
What is taking the place of all your thoughts?
I began to fall into a space of near-meditation very quickly – as I stood in line in the grocery store, or drove my bright green Honda, or during an entire 5-mile hike.
My mind was decluttering all on its own.
And something else was entering that space: A calmness. A profound joy. Creative ideas. Wisdom “downloads”. Forgiveness. Inspirations to text people that brought them bursts of joy.
The Overly Packed Mind
We as humans are so oblivious to what is going on in our minds. Life gets busy, and smart phones keep us even busier. There are so few moments we aren’t doing something. And all that doing keeps the mental gears spinning and looping and remembering the past and wishing for something in the future.
Complaining is a major element of all that unconscious mental activity:
“You won’t believe what John said to me yesterday! …Can you believe he said that?! What nerve. I should have said blah blah…”
“Oh, not again: Rain! I’m so sick of the rain!”
“Get off my ass, you stupid tailgater!”
“Why don’t things ever work out for me?”
“Laundry day already? Feels like I just did it… Ugh. I hate doing laundry!”
When the outlet of complaining is turned off… what do you have to talk about?
I know this sounds ridiculous. But for some people, this is a reality.
Many people love to complain. If they couldn’t discuss their awful childhoods or rotten co-worker or the “bad” weather… they would be at a loss for words. It would feel deeply uncomfortable.
But when complaining stops… Something Else has a chance to enter.
40 Days Is Just the Beginning…
Lent has ended – but my “No Complaining Experiment” has just begun. The fruits of this experiment have gone far, far beyond what I could have imagined. Gift after gift after gift.
No Complaining is truly a door to massive spiritual growth.
Try it for even one week. Notice what comes up. Let me know what you think.
Author of the #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Contributing author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences
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