From my younger days I have had the ability to sense when somebody is thinking about me. This ability has allowed me to react even before the person has spoken or made his intentions known - most of the times with disastrous results!
Most people now and then do exhibit this ability of mind reading and I feel everybody has this capability though they may not be aware of it. Brain is not only an instrument of creating thought but also of sending this signal and receiving external thoughts. As humans we do have painful memories associated with people, places and objects. Quite often the negative thoughts from them bother us.
How is the external thought received and is it possible to stop it from affecting us? Analogy of modern computer or phone apps may provide a possible answer.
An app in phone or laptop gets its update, notification and data only when the app is on the instrument. If the app is removed from the device then no data can be received though that information is in the “environment”.
Similarly if the painful memory of a person or an event is removed from the brain then no thought about it can be processed by it.
How do you selectively remove the painful memory? Recently scientists have discovered that if we think about a certain person or an object or event then that memory becomes pliable i.e. it can be modified with a new memory. Neural pathways when active are amenable to modifications. If at this time happy memories are remembered actively then they might weaken and replace the negative thoughts.
In the hypnosis session it is commonly seen that the hypnotist suggests new ideas and thoughts to the patient and these gets implanted in the brain. This is useful especially when a patient is talking about some painful past episode. Thus the unpleasant memories can be modified with new suggested memories. But this is a dangerous process since the other person can play with the patient’s memory and there have been cases of false memory implanted in quite a number of hypnotized patients with harmful results.
Implanting of new memory by oneself is difficult.
So a better way is yoga and meditation. When one is immersed in deep thought on a subject for a long time then majority of neural pathways in brain are used mostly to focus on that thought. This allows the other memories to weaken and provides a possible opportunity for removal of unpleasant memories.
The deep thought or Sanyam according to Patanjali Yoga can be cultivated with long practice and is the surest way to make the brain supple. Then the unpleasant memories can be reduced and made almost irrelevant.
In such circumstances when the external thought impinges on the brain then it will not be registered since the memory of that thought (app) is missing or has become corrupted!
Very often when a virus affects the computer the best way to remove it is by formatting the hard disk. Weakening of memories by Sanyam provides a mechanisms in the brain to do just that and is far better than tinkering with selective removal of memory.
The loosening of memory also helps one in becoming detached. It is the memory which gives rise to attachment either to people or property and when the memory becomes weak detachment results. That is the basic tenet of Patanjali Yoga Darshan.