Just as your approach to adding the numbers between 1 and 100 is based upon habit, so is your thinking about yourself, other people and life in general. Without even trying, our thinking falls into habits. Some thinking patterns really work against us.
Better thinking can also become habituated and entrenched. That is the good news and it is what you can achieve. Better thinking in small steps is the path to release from overpowering, rotten feelings.
All of us think in habituated patterns, many of which are completely loony. We are going to look at two basic types of troublesome thinking patterns. Between them, there is a phenomenal amount of mischief and misery created out of good emotional energy. They are:
- Faulty beliefs
- Thinking errors
Both of these easily become habituated and are responsible for most of the pain and suffering in our world. They can be described in one simple term: "mental pollution" - by far the most serious kind of pollution facing us. Mental pollution is widely prevalent, actively shaping our life energies into all sorts of chaotic, disturbing emotions. It also has a whole lot to do with determining how we behave. Once the human race sorts out the mental pollution problem, then we will be able to solve all of the other kinds of pollution problems, in pretty short order.
Certain kinds of mental pollution are part of the experience of sexual victimization. They show up as the self-sabotaging, self-injuring emotions that you may be experiencing: shame, depression, anger, and so on. This manual is an anti-pollution document. It advocates mental pollution control and mental hygiene.
A thinking error is an error of logic. Example: A common, garden variety thinking error goes like this:
When I put you down, I get bigger, better and more wonderful as a person.
We all know this one don't we? We have been fed this piece of crooked logic by our fear-based culture since we were children. It is completely illogical and yet, it is widely used in our world. Clearly, we don't get any larger, more competent or more wonderful in any way when we put someone down. It just doesn't happen.
These bits of mental pollution get into our heads and we repeat them, over and over. We come to believe these thoughts, but it is simply internal propaganda. Our ability to propagandize ourselves is amazing. We could teach the CIA and the old KGB a thing or two. Thinking errors are incredibly habit forming.