Have you heard of the pink elephant exercise? Let’s play. I challenge you try as hard as you can to stop thinking about a pink elephant for the next 30 seconds. . .
How did you do?
In reality, our brains hate vacuums. In order to stop thinking about something, we need to occupy our attention with something else. A strategy that zeros in on the thing we want to make disappear is unlikely to work. During the exercise, if you thought “I have to stop thinking about this pink elephant,” you likely did a lot worse than someone who actively shifted their attention to a different object.
That’s where God-consciousness comes into play. Thinking about God is the ultimate trump card over every negative thought we may have, whether it’s fear, anger, lust, regret, criticism or painful stimuli of any kind.
There is an expression in Spanish “Llévale la contraria al diablo.” (Give the devil the opposite, typically used when you’re feeling bad or tempted). Not only does God-consciousness get our mind off the thing we don’t want to be thinking about, but it replaces it with something of an opposite nature and energy.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8-9
When we sin, God becomes tiny in our minds. When we routinely practice God-consciousness, God becomes large in our minds. When we are in a state of God-consciousness, whether we are working, resting, or even sleeping, we are mindful of God’s large encompassing presence with us in every moment. And when a big God is present, that changes the kind of thoughts that are acceptable to think.
The truth is that we become like the people we spend the most time with, whose presence occupies our minds for the greatest length of time.
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