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When you have a positive, healthy attitude toward life, your mind reaps the rewards. But you can't ignore or deny negative feelings by pretending to be happy either. Ed and Deb Shapiro say you do it by becoming a good gardener, methodically and carefully removing the weeds of discontent while cultivating the beautiful flowers. Find out how to remove negativity from your life in order to see positivity bloom.
Qualities such as kindness, compassion and forgiveness are the seeds you want to plant to cultivate a beautiful mind. But the self-centered ego's need for grasping, gaining and selfishness easily buries them. You are capable of losing your cool, getting caught up in hot emotions and causing harm. When you focus only on your own concerns and problems, you become too self-engrossed to really acknowledge anyone else's issues. These are the weeds you need to pull up, as are moments of closed-heartedness or anger, self-doubt and insecurity. You can bring mercy and tenderness to those places, to the wounded parts, so the fight within you can come to an end. And when you step beyond yourself, then the ability to cultivate kind and caring qualities becomes possible.
When Ed was going through a difficult patch in his life, he realized he was stuck in his mind, which felt like being stuck in a paper bag. He had nowhere to go, was just caught up in his own issues. It was like his mind was overcome by weeds, with no flowers to be found. He finally realized the true mind is like the sky—just as the sky has storms, wind, rain and tornadoes, but is not affected by these things. Your true mind has worries and fears, but also isn't affected by them.
In our recent book Be the Change, we interviewed more than 100 inspired people from all walks of life, who verified the importance of transforming anger and self-negation into acceptance and generosity. Among them is neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, who—along with the Dalai Lama and psychologist Daniel Goleman—opened the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here, a team of researchers will study such qualities as kindness, compassion and forgiveness, and how they affect the brain. The fact that such brilliant people have established this center highlights the importance of developing positive thinking versus maintaining negative thinking, such as self-dislike, anger and hatred.
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