THINKING

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Definition of Thinking: the process of considering or reasoning about something.
Synonyms of Thinking: reflective, meditative, contemplative, pensive, philosophical, etc

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.
Love in fellowship.

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You are what you think, not what you think you are —John Wesley
Most of one’s life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking. —Aldous Huxley

Your mind is your predicament. –Dan Millman | More…
Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it. —Irving Berlin

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I have to think everything I believe,
but I don’t have to believe everything I think. —Pocket Sponsor

When young, things are soft. When old, things are brittle.
Stretching — both literally and metaphorically — is a necessary part of life. —Daily Tao

The real problem is how you deal with the original problem. —Pocket Sponsor

Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our THINKING is cleared of wrong motives. –Big Book | More…

One of the major dilemmas we face is SIMPLISTIC THINKING – or failure to think at all. It isn’t just a problem, it is THE problem. —M. Scott Peck

Our combined ‘original’ sins of laziness, fear, and pride, limit us from fulfilling the human potential The common denominator is our human tendency of failing to THINK well. —M. Scott Peck

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We ask God to direct our THINKING… –Big Book p.86 | More… As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right THOUGHT or action. –Big Book p.87 | More…

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley | More…

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We don’t have to say or think what we don’t wish to. We have a choice in those things, and we have to realize that and practice using that choice. —Elders Meditations

Each of our thoughts are like individual seeds.
These thoughts will plant our life garden.

Whatever our thoughts, they grow in our gardens.
Each day we will process about 50,000 thoughts or thought seeds.

Positive thoughts will produce positive results.
Have you ever been aware of what you are thinking about during the day?

Of the possible 50,000 thoughts in one day, if the positive thoughts were flowers and the negative thoughts were weeds,

How would your garden look at the end of the day? –Elders Meditations/White Bison | More…

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Righteousness means “to think right.” Our way is to consider the good of all first. This helps our minds to be unselfish and pure. This is the spiritual way. —Elders Meditations

If you’re going to use the power of your mind, use it to form a positive belief. Sometimes, the littlest bit of magic is all we need to change our lives. –More Language of Letting Go/Melody Beattie | More…

Drinking is no longer a problem, but my thinking sure is. Writing a gratitude list puts the brakes on negative thoughts, and helps me in everyday life. —Grapevine

Although thoughts are things, they are not actions;
Although feelings are real, they are not facts.

They only have the power we give them through our actions. When I act kindly, I give power to loving thoughts and feelings. When I use harsh words and ‘get even’ I give power to angry thoughts and feelings. —Pocket Sponsor

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It is never too late to give up your prejudices. Leo Booth | More…

The Earth has a song: Go into nature and sit quietly.
Then pick up a rock and listen to your thoughts.

After a while, put that rock down and pick up another rock.
Your thoughts will change. –Elder’s Meditation | More…

Visions determine our direction, our lives. If you think about lustful things, it’s a matter of time before you’ll be wrestling with it. We should think about our visions to make sure they include the Great Spirit in every area. –Elder’s Meditation | More…

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so —Shakespeare

There is a relationship between thought and reality.Every thought is alive, and as soon as you think it, a result occurs immediately because the Laws of the Great Spirit act immediately.

When you tell a lie, you immediately experience fear.
When you tell the truth, you immediately experience freedom.

To the Creator, there is no time. For us to experience the meaning of this requires us to act on faith. Faith is belief without evidence. –Elders Meditations | More…

Whatever you are thinking right now is creating how you feel. One of the best ways to deal with the way you feel is to create positive thoughts. —Pocket Sponsor

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There is a concept that says you move toward and become that which you think about. If we think about everything as interconnected and interrelated, we will begin to accept the greater whole and that there is a power who is in charge. We need to understand the property of unity. –Elders Meditations | More…

We can stop our negative thoughts. We can simply interrupt a train of thought in the same way we might interrupt a conversation and change the subject. We can take comfort in the faith that our Higher Power will provide what we need in the long run. —Wisdom of the Rooms

What is true of chemicals for the addict is true of recovery material for the recovering person. There is always a need for a message to enhances self-esteem, shed resentments, or increase spirituality.

With the program, much more comes along. Therefore, any thought about recovery can have a great effect.  –Abraham Twerski/Gateway | More…

Thought makes the whole dignity of man; therefore endeavour to think well, that is the only morality. —Blaise Pascal

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We have free will, but our free will lies in our choice of ‘thought’ / thinking.

Wrong thinking = Wrong choice
Right thinking = Right choice

The Right use of self-will is to seek Gods-will
God’s will: you’ve turned it over.
Self-will: you’ve over turned it. –Unknown

We take Steps Four and Five in order to sort out our thoughts, getting rid of those that depress our spirit. In Step Ten, we continue a daily mental housecleaning so that residues of resentment and discouragement are not allowed to accumulate. Then we go on to Step Eleven for an infusion of the kind of thinking that nurtures the person we want to become. –Inner Harvest/Elisabeth L. | More…

Frequently, throughout the day we hear the Babbler, a silent running dialogue in our head ready to put us down at any opportunity, ‘You’re stupid; they’re stupid; who wants sobriety; boy, is this dumb.’ Babbler is not the voice of our Higher Power. It is the voice of addiction putting us down. –Hour to Hour | More…

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Limited expectations yield only limited results. – Susan Laurson Willig
Our thoughts determine our actions

When our thoughts are negative, our successes are few.
What we hold in our mind is certain to be reflected in the day’s activities.

We are capable of fuelling our thoughts positively, if we choose to. Positive self-assessment and uplifting pep talks can become habitual if our desire to live up to our potential is great enough.

The expectations we privately harbour, be they small or far-reaching, will set the pace for the progress we make today, and every day. –The Promise of a New Day/Karen Casey-Martha Vanceburg | More…

We begin by trusting our ignorance and calling it innocence by thrusting our innocence and calling it purity – Oswald Chambers

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We are as sick as our secrets.
Our ego takes over control of our lives and when that happens our minds get very sick.

Then we hurt people and our minds will always justify our actions. Our minds will give us rationalization and excuses that we are justified in doing what we are doing. –Elders Meditations | More…

The regular, preferably daily, use of positive affirmations can make such a profound contribution to our well-being and willingness to grow and learn, that it can change the course of our life.

All we have to do is develop the discipline to make these positive messages habitual. In so doing, we bring our vision of ourselves in line with God’s, Who accepts us completely as we are. –In God’s Care/Karen Casey | More…

Frequently, throughout the day we hear the Babbler, a silent running dialogue in our head ready to put us down at any opportunity, ‘You’re stupid; they’re stupid; who wants sobriety; boy, is this dumb.’ Babbler is not the voice of our Higher Power. It is the voice of addiction putting us down. –Hour to Hour | More…

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Think healing thoughts. When you feel anger or resentment, ask God to help you feel it, learn from it, and then release it.

Ask Him to bless those who you feel anger toward.
Ask Him to bless you too.

When you feel fear, ask Him to take it from you.
When you feel misery, force gratitude.

When you feel deprived, know that there is enough.
When you feel ashamed, reassure yourself that who you are is okay.

You are good enough. When you doubt your timing or your present position in life, assure yourself that all is well; you are right where you’re meant to be.

Reassure yourself that others are too.
When you ponder the future, tell yourself that it will be good.

When you look back at the past, relinquish regrets.
When you notice problems, affirm there will be a timely solution and a gift from the problem.

When you resist feelings or thoughts, practice acceptance.
When you feel discomfort, know it will pass.

When you identify a want or a need, tell yourself it will be met.
When you worry about those you love, ask God to protect and care for them.

When you worry about yourself, ask Him to do the same.
When you think about others, think love.

Then watch your thoughts transform reality. –The Language of Letting Go/Melody Beattie | More…

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The world we have created is a product of our thinking.  It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. I have learned how to change my thinking through the process of working these wonderful (Twelve) Steps. –One Day At A Time | More…

Today, if I’m having a rough start to my day, I’ll remind myself to change my thoughts and perspectives. I will remember that it’s just a bad day, not a bad life. –Anon

We have seen that when man allows himself to think wrongly, selfishly, this wrong thinking brings upon him all his troubles.

Instead of understanding his essential nature is to be ever about his Father’s business, he tries to set upon his own account.

All our trouble arise from just this folly. We abuse our free-will, trying to work apart from God; and the very natural result is all the sickness, poverty, sin, trouble, and death that we find on the physical plane –Sermon on the Mount p.130  | More…

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Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet. It is the body’s reaction to your mind – or, a reflection of your mind and body. A hostile thought will create a build-up of energy in the body that we call anger. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.19 | More…

Now that we’ve been given our Higher Power’s gift of love, what do we do with it?

If we clasp that gift tightly to ourselves, we will smother it.
We must remember that love grows only when it is shared.

We can only keep this gift by freely giving it away.
The world of addiction is a world of taking and being taken.

The world of recovery is a world of giving and being given.
In which world do we choose to live? –Just for Today | More…

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Today, let’s be clear in how we think, speak, and act. And if we start to get mixed up, let’s stop thinking and listen for our Higher Power’s voice. —Keep It Simple

To properly develop, the human being needs to learn the guiding principles. It is from these principles that we make our decisions.

Spiritual values are the guiding principles given to us by the Great Spirit. He says if we live by these spiritual values, the results we experience will be good.

These spiritual values will develop and guide the human being by helping us to think right. Right thinking will improve our choices and decisions. Doing this will bring good consequences. –Elders Meditations | More…

Conflict between surface thoughts and unconscious mental processes is certainly common. You may not yet be able to bring your unconscious mind activity into awareness as thoughts, but it will always be reflected in the body as an emotion, and of this you can become aware. While a thought is in your head, an emotion is primarily felt in the body. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.22 | More…

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The spiritual life requires a plan, or at least planning, and so thinking.
How and what one chooses to see makes a difference to the outcome.

The spirituality of Imperfection offers an alternative image for the spiritual life: that of journey. And the practice of storytelling brings the metaphor of journey to life.

The goal of the pilgrimage that is spirituality is, simply, to keep moving – spiritually – one step at a time. Staying is nowhere, or as Confucius said ‘ It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop’. –The Spirituality of Imperfection/Ernie Kurtz & Katherine Kechum p.132-138 | More…

To properly develop, the human being needs to learn the guiding principles. It is from these principles that we make our decisions.

Spiritual values are the guiding principles given to us by the Great Spirit. He says if we live by these spiritual values, the results we experience will be good.

These spiritual values will develop and guide the human being by helping us to think right. Right thinking will improve our choices and decisions. Doing this will bring good consequences. –Elders Meditations | More…

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Emotion literally means ‘ disturbance’ from the Latin emovere, meaning ‘to disturb.’ Love, joy, and peace are deep states of Being or rather three aspects of the state of inner connectedness with Being. They have no opposite because they arise from beyond the mind. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.23-25 | More…

The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. The pain you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.27 | More…

You move toward and become that which you think about.
Creating a vision is what guides our lives.

If we get off track with our vision, then we experience conflict.
Conflict is nature’s way of telling us we are not in harmony.

Criticism can be a way for one human being to help another.
Often our Elders will give us criticism.

This feedback is intended to be helpful.
Criticism from our Elders helps us grow strong. –Elders Meditations | More…

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To summarize; To access the power of Now.
Focus attention on the feeling inside you.

Know that is it the pain-body. Accept that is there.
Don’t think about it – don’t let the feeling turn into thinking.

Don’t judge or analyse. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.33 | More…

The psychological condition of fear comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. Psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. So, anyone who is identified with their mind will have fear as their constant companion. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.35-37 | More…

All cravings are the mind seeking salvation or fulfilment in external things and in the future as a substitute for the joy of Being. Pain is inevitable as long as you are identified with your mind, which is to say as long as you are unconscious, spiritually speaking. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.25-26 | More…

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The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions; The work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.

None of these is you. Do you find this frightening?
All of these things you will have to relinquish sooner or later.

You will know the truth of it for yourself.
You will know it at the latest when you feel death approaching.

Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ – and find that there is no death. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.37-38 | More..

Through doing the Steps and receiving love from my AA family, my perception of life has changed. Once my thoughts changed, so did my actions, then, finally, the results. –December 2007/Grapevine

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The problems of the mind cannot be solved on the level of the mind. Studying the complexities of the mind won’t take you beyond the mind, just as the study of madness isn’t enough to create sanity.

You become as a ‘branch cut off from the vine’ as Jesus puts it.
The mind in itself is not dysfunctional. It is a wonderful tool.

Dysfunction sets it when you seek yourself in it and mistake it for who you are. It then becomes the egoic mind and takes over your whole life. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.39-40 | More…

With any organization or society, the time comes when people find fault with the founders. Founders are only human beings, and they are likely to exhibit the human shortcomings all of us have.

The real role of a founder is to lay the foundation for further building. Unless the society grows, improving over what the founder had in mind, it is not likely to survive. Its real work should be to surpass the founder so as to be of greater service to others. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

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End the delusion of time.
Time and mind are inseparable.

Remove time from the mind and it stops – unless you choose to use it. To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation.

Time isn’t precious at all because it is an illusion.
What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now

The more focused you are on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now. The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant.

Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be. The Now is the only point that can take you beyond the limited confines of the mind. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.40-41 | More…

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Nothing Exists Outside The Now. If you haven’t grasped the essence of what I am saying it is because you are trying to understand it mentally.

Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now.
Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.

Past and future have no reality of their own. The moment you grasp this, there is a shift in consciousness from mind to Being, from time to presence. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.41-42 | More…

The Native American chief said to Carl Jung; They are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The white people want something. They are always uneasy and restless.

We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad. The undercurrent of constant unease was already there at the time of Jesus and it was there 600 years before that at the time of Buddha.

Why are you always anxious? Jesus asked his disciples
Can anxious thought add a single day to your life?

And the Buddha taught that the root of suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving. Resistance to the Now as a collective dysfunction is intrinsically connected to loss of awareness of Being. –The Power of Now/Eckhart Tolle p.60-62 | More…

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The real problem is how you deal with the original problem. —Pocket Sponsor

Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our THINKING is cleared of wrong motives. –Big Book p.86 | More…

Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs. -BB p.20 The program tells me that my thoughts must reach out to those around me: “Would that newcomer welcome someone to talk to?”

“That person looks a little unhappy today, maybe I could cheer him up.” It is only when I forget my problems, and reach out to contribute something to others that I can begin to attain the serenity and God-consciousness I seek.  –Daily Reflections | More…

A person’s mind will be influenced by what he listens to and what he reads. And what we think is very important to sobriety.

Today I make an effort to examine my thinking and check it out with a sponsor or in a support group. God created me with the ability to think, therefore, I need to safeguard the information I put in my mind. –Father Leo | More…

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Theologian James Fowler a Professor of Theology and Human Development at Emory University and director of both the Center for Research on Faith and Moral Development and the Center for Ethics is best known for his book Stages of Faith

There are six stages as follows…

Stage 1 – “Intuitive-Projective” faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious, and marked by a relative fluidity of thought patterns. Religion is learned mainly through experiences, stories, images, and the people that one comes in contact with.

Stage 2 – “Mythic-Literal” faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic. During this time metaphors and symbolic language are often misunderstood and are taken literally.

Stage 3 – “Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to authority and the religious development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.

Stage 4 – “Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.

Stage 5 – “Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.

Stage 6 – “Universalizing” faith, or what some might call “enlightenment”. The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.
–James Fowler, six stages of development | More…

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It is good to bear in mind
Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;

There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud,
There’s one that’s broken-hearted for his sins,
There’s one that unrepentant sits and grins;
There’s one that loves his neighbour as himself,
And one that cares for naught but fame and pelf.
From much corroding care I should be free
If I could determine which is me.

Five Steps of Spiritual Growth | More…

Three factors play central roles in our learning: attitude, temperament, and values.

Attitude is one’s acquired disposition/approach to viewing things and it affects one’s ability to learn.

Temperament refers to the biological part of our personality. It’s in our genes.

Values are those qualities we deem important. We are faced with the ongoing problem of making choices based primarily on what we value the most. –M. Scott Peck/RLT and Beyond | More…

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We used to be stubborn.
Once we got an idea in our heads, we wouldn’t change it.

We didn’t listen to others ideas.
We almost seemed to say, “Don’t tell me the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.”

We’re not acting like fools any longer.
We’re learning to change our old ideas. –Keep It Simple | More…

With any organization or society, the time comes when people find fault with the founders. Founders are only human beings, and they are likely to exhibit the human shortcomings all of us have.

The real role of a founder is to lay the foundation for further building. Unless the society grows, improving over what the founder had in mind, it is not likely to survive. Its real work should be to surpass the founder so as to be of greater service to others. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

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Letting go of faulty thinking means we realize there are no knights on white horses to rescue us. Teachers may come our way, but they will not rescue. They will teach.

People who care will come, but they will not rescue. They will care. Help will come, but help is not rescuing. We are our own rescuers. –The Language of Letting Go/Melody Beattie | More…

 The unhealthy need of perfectionism gets in the way of admitting needs for affection and support from others.Becoming conscious of limitations, diminishes high expectations in every area of life.

When we evolve spiritually we always learn unanticipated good things about ourselves. Life’s greatest adventure, is the final adventure of death.

The choice to die well can be only made by those who have made the choice for learning.
Learning is essential to living, and choosing to die well is an inherent part of choosing how to live well. –M. Scott Peck/RLT and Beyond | More…

Love is greater than faith, because the end is greater than the means. What is the use of having faith? It is to connect the soul with God.

And what is the object of connecting man with God? That he may become like God. But God is Love. Hence Faith, the means, is in order to Love, the end. Love, therefore, obviously is greater than faith.

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Love is greater than charity, again, because the whole is greater than a part. Charity is only a little bit of Love, one of the innumerable avenues of Love, and there may even be, and there is, a great deal of charity without Love. –Henry Drummond/The Greatest Thing In the World | More…

One of the most popular books in early A.A. was Professor Henry Drummond’s study of 1 Corinthians 13.   The Greatest Thing in the World, is one of three books Dr. Bob regularly provided to alcoholics with whom he worked.

In fact, Dr. Bob’s enthusiasm for Drummond’s book is dramatized by the following remarks of the wife of A.A. Oldtimer Clarence S. Dorothy S. M. said: Once, when I was working on a woman in Cleveland, I called and asked him [Dr. Bob], “What do I do for somebody who is going into D.T.’s?”

He told me to give her the medication, and he said, “When she comes out of it and she decides she wants to be a different woman, get her Drummond’s ‘The Greatest Thing in the World.’ Tell her to read it through every day for 30 days, and she’ll be a different woman (See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, p. 310). –© Dick B. | More…

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Our thoughts not only contribute to our achievements, they determine the posture of our lives. The seeds we plant in our minds indicate the directions we’ll explore in our development.  –Each Day A New Beginning/Karen Casey | More…

We control our thoughts by controlling our self-talk.
At any moment we choose we can talk to ourselves differently.

The fight comes with the emotions that are attached to our thoughts. If our emotion is high and seems to be out of control, we can say to ourselves STOP IT!, take a few deep breaths, then ask the Creator for the right thought or the right decision or the right action.

If we practice this for a while, our thought life will be different. It helps if in the morning we ask God to direct our thinking. God loves to help us. –Elders Meditations/White Bison | More…

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Denial, the shock absorber for the soul, protects us until we are equipped to cope with reality. Clear thinking and recovery don’t mean we will never resort to denial.

Denial is the first step toward acceptance, and for most of our life, we will be striving to accept something. Clear thinking means we don’t allow ourselves to become immersed in negativity or unrealistic expectations.

We keep our thinking on track by asking our Higher Power to help us think clearly, not by expecting Him, or someone else, to do our thinking for us. –The Language of Letting Go/Melody Beattie | More…

Every thought we harbor has an impact, whether it’s voiced aloud or not. Every time we favour a nasty thought rather than a nice thought, we add to the turmoil around us. The good news is that we can choose between the two at will. –Keepers of the Wisdom/Karen Casey | More…

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