In the phone class on how to take control of our thoughts, you asked us to choose lines from Tehillim (Psalms), the siddur (prayer book), or even our own thoughts. We would use these as “replacement thoughts” anytime we’re having a negative thought.
I know what kinds of negative thoughts I have frequently. But I can’t decide what kinds of thoughts I need to replace them with. I’ve looked in books and tried to write my own, but it’s not working.
I want to stop the repetitive negative worried thoughts I have every day. Please help me – I need some new thoughts!
Aren’t there any Breslov sayings I could use?
Worried in NJ
I love the Change Your Thoughts; Change Your Life workshop because it gives easy, practical Breslov tools you can use to make your life better.
But I’m always up for making things even simpler. A few other women mentioned that they felt it was too difficult to come up with their own replacement thoughts. A few also said they found it overwhelming to look through Psalms or other seforim.
Although there aren’t one-size-fits-all mantras in Breslov since the Rebbe emphasized the uniqueness of each us pursuing our individual path, there are some excellent Breslov resources that make finding our replacement mantras fairly easy.
The Empty Chair
The first is The Empty Chair, the perennial Breslov bestseller. This little pocket-sized book has never been bested. It contains powerful but pithy teachings of Rebbe Nachman, mostly in a one or two-sentence format.
You can use the snippets as is, or put them in your own words. For example:
To be a person of truth, be swayed neither by approval nor disapproval.
Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are. —The Empty Chair
To turn this into your own mantra to use when you find yourself in the position of making a choice based on other’s approval, and not what is true or best for you, you might want to say:
I want to be a person of truth. I do not need approval from anyone. I am free to be who I really am. I want to be a person of truth.
The Fiftieth Gate-Likutey Tefilot
If you don’t mind doing a bit of reading, this is a rich option.
Likutey Tefilos are a collection of prayers written by Reb Nosson at the direction of the Rebbe who told Reb Nosson to turn his lessons into prayers. One of the many unique, life-changing practices of Breslov is to pray during hisbodedus about the lessons we are learning. By asking God to give us help assimilating the lessons of the Rebbe, we are opening the door to lasting success.
I like to use the prayers in Likutey Tefilos as a kind of “jumping off” point into hisbodedus, to help me bring my thoughts into sharper focus.They are also a great place to find mantras, i.e.; replacement thoughts.
You can get the prayers in Hebrew with English translation (which is slightly interpretative) called The Fiftieth Gate. Each prayer corresponds to a lesson in Likutey Moharan.
For example: And God, in Your abundant mercy take me away from conflict and fighting and from speaking too much. Let me only say the right amount of words in alignment with Your Will.
Then, I shorten this to: Hashem, please help me avoid getting involved in arguments and please help me keep my mouth shut unless my input is absolutely necessary!
If I actually use this replacement thought, it really works. The key is to USE the Rebbe’s teachings.
Between Me and You
For super-short prayers that make excellent replacement thoughts as is, you might like Between Me and You. A lot of busy women I know find the prayers in this book exactly the right length for them.
Read my review at HealthyJewishCooking.com.
And let me know how this works for you!
“Goe Platz der Synagoge Detail” by Daniel Schwen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons