Two Easily Remembered Questions That Silence Negative Thoughts | Anthony Metivier | TEDxDocklands (2023)


NOTE FROM TED: This talk only represents the speaker's personal views and understanding of meditation and spirituality. We've flagged this talk because it falls outside the content guidelines TED gives TEDx organizers. TEDx events are independently organized by volunteers. The guidelines we give TEDx organizers are described in more detail here:

Anthony Metivier, memory expert and creator of the Magnetic Memory Method used a simple process of "self-inquiry" to help him overcome years of mental distress that imprisoned him in a “manic-depressive” identity, and almost took his life. bring peace of mind and focus, and free ourselves from negative thinking. Using the secular translations of ancient Sanskrit by Dr. Gary Weber, Anthony shares the two most powerful and immediate tools self-transformation. They are easy to remember and anyone can use them to create focus on the present moment and experience instant freedom from negative thinking.

For more ways to combine simple memory exercises with mindfulness, find Anthony on YouTube: Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st Century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, dreams, names, music, poetry and much more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


How would you like to completely silence? Your mind I know, you came here to have better thoughts, not no thoughts, right? But wouldn't it be nice to just shut them off on demand in a way that creates just complete being just perfect wellness on demand.

And in a way that lasts I figured out how to do this and I'll teach you the basics today, I only hope you don't ignore this because I went through years decades of mental suffering.

Thanks to the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah in my mind, and it didn't help that I tried to shut those thoughts off by swallowing antidepressants and antipsychotics with alcohol day after day after day for years.

But my biggest sin on top of all that nonsense was being a very committed atheist.

You see I didn't believe that turning your thoughts off was possible because I thought it was connected to whoo-whoo and I'd meditated for years.

But I certainly didn't believe in something called pns II or persistent non-symbolic experience.

Certainly not when my friend benefitial told me about this, while we were sitting outside of my favorite cafe in Brisbane and I had meditated for years.

So I noticed that the Sun was shining I noticed, how good the hot chocolate coconut milk, tasted and I noticed that my favorite topics were on the table.

Meditation philosophy, the truth.

And what we can say about the truth in a way that makes it stick.

So that everybody is on the same page, which would be bliss right? Well, despite all of Ben's, many qualifications in meditation, the science of it and his knowledge of the history of many spiritual traditions, I wasn't, having any of this pavement has no thoughts, I said.

And there is plenty of it it's everywhere.

I want lots of thoughts, radiant thoughts, the most beautiful perfect thoughts, endless thoughts, truth thoughts.

Now I have to take responsibility for my ignorance in the end, or at least my eye has to take responsibility.

But I was also caught in a YouTube's algorithm.

You know, the kind you press a button.

And then for three days, three weeks, three months, three years, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.

In this case, new atheism, science, science science, if it isn't scientific, its woowoo, it's, the enemy.

So been looks at me with this clear crystal present eyes.

And he says you have to read Gary, Weber always say, ready to completely knock this down because I know what's coming next.

But it turns out that Weber was a very good professional scientist who himself needed a secular way to stop the thoughts in his mind, because they were torturing him for years.

Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.

And he needed something that would work without the need to believe in it.

So I listened and been said, really all that involves is memorizing, a couple of things and I'm a memory guy.

So I thought game on if that's all it takes, you see I'd used memory techniques for years.

I used them in university to deal with depression and to deal with the brain fog from swallowing your pills with beer.

I've also used them to create wonderful language, learning experiences and even wound up getting my wife with one of these stunts because her dad was smart enough to not let her daughter walk away with a guy who couldn't have small in her mother tongue and sing, a song at the wedding I, even sat with a two times Guinness world record holder for memory and did not too bad for a guy who swallowed his pills with Guinness on the way to the memory competition, it's, not really that funny.

But such was the extent of how I was trying to quiet my mind.

So I went home looked up this Gary, Weber guy, ordered a book called happiness beyond thought.

Shortly after that.

Another one called evolving beyond thought and sure enough.

This is what Dr Weber says memorize some Sanskrit and your thoughts will start to turn down.

And if you do it, right, you can maybe even blow them out like a candle so that they never start up again.

Now, that's a very huge promise, but I thought, if I could even just go from volume 11 down to 10.

This would be sweet, mercy and I was interested in this Sanskrit stuff because I did a PhD and took some linguistics courses along the way.

And this was attractive to me I like to learn languages as we heard today already it's, not that hard.

So I got into this Sanskrit, 3,500 years old, at least in many wonderful philosophical texts have been written in this language, it's notorious for its precision in cutting through the noise and getting to the heart of things.

But this work it's, not really about the Sanskrit it's.

Not even really about words, it's about the ability of patterns to neutralize patterns and I found this out in a very interesting way.

Because at the back of evolving beyond thought, Weber has assembled all the Sanskrit.

He recommends you memorize.

And he has these English statements with them that I took to be the English translations, memory guy sure, but also a little bit of an absent-minded professor.

So I'm memorizing, this Sanskrit and this English chipton, Ava, mojado from Chatham Ava.

He Bala kaha - tomato mahatmyam, chittim, Ava, Mahana, SOT.

Clearly not English is it, but what a beautiful mistake? What a blessing in disguise because as I'm working with this day in and day out this English is very simple, are my thoughts useful? How do they behave? And as thoughts come roaring in as they tended to do on autopilot I start to answer with these questions, are my thoughts useful? How do they behave? How do my thoughts behave? Are they useful? The order doesn't really seem to matter.

And these thoughts just start to fall apart unless of course they were useful, because sometimes you do have useful thoughts and I found out that it's a very good thing to observe the usefulness of thoughts.

So maybe you can have some more of them from time to time.

Now, Eckhart Tolle.

And the power of now has this quote that used to frustrate me, he say, focus all your attention on the now and tell me what problem you have in this moment, I don't know about you, but this little undisciplined mind, it can find all kinds of problems when it focuses on the moment right? But as we think about our future and our sight for how we're going to deal with the future, what I needed and what I think we could all use there's, not so much a focus on anything in the now, but rather tools that help us not destroy not dissolve not chase away, but simply neutralize the noise because the more I looked into it, the scientists and the spiritual people.

They do agree about one thing.

They are on the same page about one thing.

And that is that energy doesn't die.

It just changes form and I found out that the neutral form in my mind is pure bliss.

And it is agreement now I eventually figured out my mistake and memorized the proper English for this Sanskrit.

And there are three the sets of questions in total in this book evolving beyond thought.

And in this case, it's really just simple.

Mind is the great folly mind is that undisciplined little boy, but it's the mind that thinks it's the big man.

And that thought is folly that thought is illusion.

And this was beautiful to work with beautiful to realize because we've seen all the best minds of our time roaring at each other keyboard, warriors, Twitter storms, even the best of the best I think they're little undisciplined thoughts are the big man right? We've got to be able to get past this.

We can't afford to not see and extract value even from the things we don't like and I realize that I almost missed this because I thought it wasn't philosophy.

But this is a very ancient philosophy.

You could call it self inquiry as some people do.

And one of its earliest philosopher said, this inability to see and extract value from the things we don't like because we are so stuck on the things that we do like.

He calls it the look like dislike monster.

So one day I'm sitting there dealing with the Internet, not so much Twitter storms or keyboard warriors.

But a sea change.

You know, you run an online business and one day it's this way, the next day it's that.

But instead of throwing my computer across the room and jumping up and down on it I go for a walk.

And in a park, not far from that cafe, where been set me on this adventure.

I sat and the same my little Sanskrit song.

And then it happened.

All my thoughts disappeared, just gone.

It was exquisite.

And it happens more and more often the more that I practice, of course, I still have thoughts.

I got myself here today, planning thoughts, extroversion.

How can we help more people? How can we help them more often not so much III, but you you and you and you.

And when a battle-axe of thought comes in I, have this great simple, little tool, that's, super simple to remember you don't need a bunch of memory techniques to do it.

And these thoughts just fall apart.

Are they useful? How do they pay now five years ago, the little boy who thought he was a big man, wouldn't have agreed with Aldous Huxley, who said, a totally unmistakable would be a world, totally blind and insane I don't know about mystical or not mystical.

These are just words, but I was blind and insane.

And we see all kinds of people on network news on the internet talk, they don't even talk into this anymore.

It disappeared into their ears, blind and insane.

But we can't change them.

We can't change anybody else.

And we know that deep down inside because it's thoughts that make us think it's even possible.

But you can change you and I think you'll be surprised by how quickly it happens.

When you start to not destroy not to dissolve not to chase away your thoughts, but simply neutralize them.

Now the question is, do you have to memorize as much as as much Sanskrit as I went on to memorize piles of it mountains of it it's, amazing, I, highly recommend.

It I, don't know, but I don't think.

So the next time, the great like/dislike monster raises its ugly head, or maybe the next time you are the like/dislike monster.

You can simply stop and ask yourself, all my thoughts useful.

How do they behave.


How do you silence negative thoughts? ›

Simple Steps to Stop Negative Thoughts
  1. Pause a Moment. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or stuck in negative thinking patterns, PAUSE. ...
  2. Notice the Difference. NOTICE the difference between being stuck in your thoughts vs. ...
  3. Label Your Thoughts. ...
  4. Choose Your Intention.
Dec 3, 2022

When all your thoughts are negative? ›

We all have negative thoughts sometime, but when they cycle through your mind over and over again, they can cause problems and they can be a sign that you have a more fundamental problem for which you need to seek help. Recurring negative thoughts can be a symptom of both anxiety and depressive disorders.

How do I stop my thoughts from controlling my life? ›

10 Tips to Take Charge of Your Mindset and Control Your Thoughts
  1. Naming.
  2. Acceptance.
  3. Meditation.
  4. Shifting perspective.
  5. Positive thinking.
  6. Guided imagery.
  7. Writing.
  8. Focused distractions.
Jan 8, 2021

How useful are my thoughts? ›

At the core of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the inquisitive statement: “Are my thoughts useful?” This statement relates back to the idea that many people suffer from experiencing negative thoughts—not from the thoughts themselves.

What can trigger negative thoughts? ›

The most common causes for negative thinking are the following:
  • Overanalyzing and Indecisiveness. ...
  • Negative Rumination About Past Events. ...
  • Outward-directed Anger. ...
  • Fear of the Future. ...
  • Negative Self-criticism. ...
  • Lack of self-confidence. ...
  • Jumping to Conclusions. ...
  • Self-blame.
Dec 26, 2018

How to control your thoughts? ›

How to control your mind
  1. Practice mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises.
  2. Include positive affirmations in your self-talk rather than put-downs.
  3. Take a pause during your day to slow your mind down.
  4. Avoid things that trigger negative thoughts, like scrolling through social media.
Aug 4, 2022

Can you reverse negative thoughts? ›

Positive self-talk: Practicing positive self-talk can be a powerful tool for combating negative thoughts. Reminding yourself of your strengths, accomplishments, and successes can help you reframe your beliefs and regain control.

What is the main cause of negative thinking? ›

Negative thinking can have several causes, including personal factors such as undergoing a traumatic experience. That said, scientists are finding evidence that certain mental health disorders play a critical role in the habitual formation of dark or negative thoughts.

How do I stop my mind from talking? ›

That's much easier said than done, but here are several ways to help halt negative thoughts and self-talk:
  1. Breathe. ...
  2. Acknowledge It. ...
  3. Consider The Cause. ...
  4. Stop Expecting Perfection. ...
  5. Surround Yourself With Positivity. ...
  6. Build A Routine. ...
  7. Make A Conscious Choice To Silence Those Thoughts.
Feb 22, 2019

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