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The Myth of Doing: Managing guilt, shame, anxiety, regret and self-judgment

Jill Eng

Personal Thoughts

Summary Notes

Physical Reality Test: 

1) Find a “should” thought behind your mental stress; 

2) Pare the thought down to something specific like, “I feel like I should be quitting my job;” 

3) Ask yourself the question: “Is it physically possible for me to be doing this right now?” (If your body is engaged in some other task, then the answer is no); 

4) Now tell yourself that if it is physically impossible for you to attend to that action right now (quitting your job because you are currently cleaning the bathtub), then what follows is, “I should not be quitting my job now,” which subsequently means, “I am not supposed to be quitting my job now,” and finally, “I am supposed to be cleaning the bathtub now.” (In all of these examples it is useful to remember that whenever you will be checking in with yourself, it will be now.)

How Powerful are our Actions?

  • When we believe we should be doing something we are not doing, or should not be doing something we are doing, our mind is simply confused.
  • We must set the mind straight that real action is not mental doing. It is a state of physically occupying space while interacting with our immediate environment through an exchange of weight, touch, and movement.
  • These conditions define our physical reality, which is all action ever is, and, which will always prevail over guilt, judgment, and desire.

Conscious Thoughts

  • Conscious thoughts are not the cause of what my body does; they are comments. Because the body’s actions, what we refer to as decisions, occur regardless of what we think about, we do not make decisions in the way we presume we do. Actions manifest; thoughts do not cause actions.
  • Many eastern practices share this perspective. Aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism place great importance on meditation, which helps people acknowledge thoughts for what they are, witness reality in action, and see the messages in thoughts as an unreliable source for understanding our life.

The Myth of Doing: Managing guilt, shame, anxiety, regret and self-judgment

Jill Eng
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