(an excerpt from a Vernon Howard talk)
“You concentrate at the start by taking a specific worry, a specific haunting. That person you know that you had a difficulty with in some way, I want you to notice how a picture of that person comes up into your mind, right? Physical picture. How a thought about that person comes up to your mind. How a solution toward the problem comes up–excuse me, solutions come up into your mind. About fifty of them. One exactly opposite from the other. Notice the repetitiousness of it. Notice the pain of it. Notice that there’s no control. It just comes up on you and grabs you and kidnaps you and carries you away and torments you.
Isn’t it a peculiar thing to see, the recognition of these tyrannical hellish thoughts, the recognition of them, going right down into them, descending into our own hell of our own mind. You understand that that’s what we are talking about, descending into the valley of the shadow of death. Isn’t it peculiar and fascinating that the deeper we go into the hell of our own mental torment the more we deliver ourselves from it, because it is the understanding of it, the insight, the awareness, the consciousness that sets us free.
All right. This goes on, this preliminary stage of simply noticing your thoughts as they arise and not trying to do anything with them at all, because if you do anything with them at all then you have brought the second thought in and the third and the fourth and that creates the chain reaction and as long as there’s a chain reaction of thoughts you don’t break it with awareness of the thoughts, therefore you can’t escape. You’ve kept the chain going instead of breaking it by simply becoming aware of it and not doing a thing about it. There’s nothing you can do about it. You exist only on the level of thoughts and every time you drag yourself into it you make it worse. “I’m going to solve my…” – you never… look. If you could have solved your problems, how come you haven’t? See? How come you create new problems all the time?
Now you remember I told you about six months ago that it is the second thought that causes the difficulty. The first thought we can handle. The thought of that person and “I’m hostile toward him for what he did to me.” That’s the first thought, but I catch it. I catch it, right? “I really hate that man for what he did to me.” I catch it. That’s the first thought. If I don’t do anything about it, if I stay out of it, if I don’t try to solve it on my own sick mental level; if I don’t try to solve the problem; the thought, that hostile hateful thought has no choice but to disappear because I haven’t given it power. I haven’t encouraged it by trying to find a solution or by saying, “I’m justified in hating him for what he did to me.”
Are you getting it? Do you understand? Isn’t this beautiful?”