Years ago I read Bhante Gunaratana's "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness".
Within chapter 6 he writes of the Four Steps to Skillful Effort. He lists them as:
- prevent negative states of mind
- overcome negative states of mind
- cultivate positive states of mind
- maintain positive states of mind
Perhaps we can break it down to four words:
When we practice loving kindness/loving friendliness (metta) meditation, we demonstrate to ourselves that we can influence the mind to break from its habitual patterns of negative thinking, interjecting beautiful thoughts of loving friendliness. We witness firsthand how entertaining such kind thoughts alters our entire being.
Positive Thoughts = Positive Mind
So long as we can continuously cultivate and maintain thoughts of loving kindness toward ourselves and others we will be able to prevent negative states of mind from arising. And should a negative state of mind arise, it can be overcome by abandoning those negative thoughts, instead cultivating thoughts of loving friendliness.
It's quite good metta-cine ; )