I an interested in successfully completing the 7 day mental diet (A New Diet for a New Year, by Candace Chellew), as outlined by Emmet Fox. I have had a couple of unsuccessful attempts and have walked away feeling frustrated at not being able to complete one whole day.
What strategies and advice would you be able to recommend, especially during those times when the mind is free to wander where it may? I am the father of a 3-year-old. I parent full-time during the day and work nights. How would you suggest one parents/disciplines without thinking and dwelling upon negativity? Also, when confronted with a familiar trigger, such as “road rage”, how do you “let it go”?
When these situations present themselves to me I try and remind myself that these repeated patterns only attract that which I don’t want in my life, that to strive to think of those things for which I feel grateful will attract that which I do want. But, it’s like watching a train wreck unfold. My mind ultimately dwells upon the most recent event/slight and I feel the rage building. Boom! End of mental diet.
I look forward to reading your insights into this and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.
Editor Candace Chellew responds:
David, thanks for your letter. I admire you trying out the 7 day diet – it’s not an easy thing. The more I reflect on Fox’s advice and the diet, the more I become convinced that Fox never really meant for any of us to really conquer this diet. Instead, I think it’s his way of helping us grow more and more mindful each day of where we’re falling short and dedicating ourselves to working on that whatever stumbling blocks we encounter.
We’re all a work in process and I doubt even the most perfectionist and disciplined among us could go an entire seven days without negativity. The key, though, I’ve found is to remember that when negative thoughts come not to dwell on them – or give them more energy than their worth.
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn has helped me with my own problems with road rage. I was against just “letting it go” because that seemed to me to be bottling my emotions which can lead to explosions down the road. Instead, he counsels us to remember that anger is merely an energy that we can allow to grow or to dissipate. We have the choice and the power – so it’s not a choice between repressing an emotion or “letting it go” as much as it is letting the emotion dissipate. Letting it go still gives it power – letting the energy dissipate – not acting on or dwelling on that negativity – allows the energy to be released. There’s no gritting of the teeth and vowing to “let it go” that really may mean bottling it for a later expression.
So, now, I observe when I become angry and simply say to myself, “I am becoming angry.” In that moment of recognition I can make a choice. Is this really something to get worked up about? To yell about? To raise my blood pressure about? Or, can I stop taking things personally and instead just observe the emotion until it dissipates like so much hot air? Sometimes I choose to give voice and energy to the emotion, sometimes I choose to let it go. It’s situational. Some things can be worthy of upsetting me – others, not so much. So, we’re free to make a choice – but I try to channel my anger into something constructive instead of just an impotent rage. I don’t always succeed, but my intention is good and that’s what matters.
Hold the practice lightly. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re starting over and over again. I think that’s what we all have to go through. Fox may call it a 7 day diet, but I think it’s a lifetime diet where we become ever more mindful of the areas where we’re falling short so we can continue to improve ourselves and the world around us.
Hope that helps!
Thank you for the insightful article on James (Even the Demons Believe). I’ve been saved for some time, but never truly gave my life to Christ. A few months ago, God really began to pour His spirit out upon me, and blessed me with real knowledge, and more importantly, real understanding.
I was raised in the church, always believed in God and Jesus, and had a decent understanding of the scriptures “overall”. Of course I struggle with many things, I’ve drank and drugged half my life away, which is bad because I simply knew better, but God gifted me with enough intelligence to recognize that my ways lead to nothing but misery and sorrow, loneliness, and the list goes on ad infinitum. Now I have truly given my life to Him, I denounced rock music, which was what got me started down that road to perdition, and has been my greatest love since age 9. That was a MAJOR thing for me, because it’s how satan (no capitalization, I don’t feel he deserves it!) has kept me where he wanted me.
Thank the risen Lord Jesus that I finally ran out of excuses. Your article was the first thing I read this morning, and it addressed some important things I’ve been wrestling with. I suppose I simply want to be perfect all at once, but that isn’t how it works.
I thank you with the utmost sincerity, because now I recognize when God is speaking to me, and today, you were God’s “surrogate” voice!
I am a straight 44 year old man – I found your site on accident – or was it? I just want to share my experience – to show you it’s working!
I was just looking around the web and found your site after being directed to a site about dealing with anger. That is another story – the anger. I do not have any hostility towards any GLBT person or persons – but like some “innocent” people I have always felt like Jesus couldn’t love “them.” Your site allowed me to actually think about that line of thought – how it was twisting what Jesus said. Just wanted to let you know.
Much kudos for the work you put in this site. I am certain you get more than your fair share of the hate mail from”my kind” and I apologize – although I am sure you’ve heard it before – please consider it once more.
Keep up the great work! May the Lord be with you!