It takes courage to look inside and even more to tame the mental beast.
Every morning, the first thing that happens to most of us is we become aware. Our consciousness wakes up, sometimes even before your eyes open. We become aware, feel our body in bed, the sheets, maybe we take a big stretch or yawn, and then begins the onslaught of thinking. We think about our to do lists, what happened yesterday, how we’re feeling, what’s supposed to happen today, etc. This super train of thoughts begins and sometimes doesn’t end until we crash at night. Research shows that we think 50-70,000 thoughts each day. Imagine for a moment if someone tapped on your neck with a needle 50-70,000 times each day. How might that feel? We think about a variety of subjects, so maybe you get tapped on your head, then your knee, then your back and so on. After thousands and thousands of times, eventually you’d probably react unfavorably, perhaps even violently, unless of course, it felt good.
That’s why the understanding of our mind is so important to our well-being. If we let the mind run free it can be untamed. It can feel like that negative tapping throughout our day. When we begin to understand how our own mind works, then we can use it in a productive manner. Our mind thinks based on years of experiences, education, modeling, our own choices and more. We can either let it run free or begin to direct it to be more creative, productive and compassionate.
The first step is simply to sit still. Simple, but not easy, sitting still allows us to become aware of the inner workings of our own mind. Is it positive? Are we kind to ourselves? Is it negative or critical? It could very well be a mix of both. First we have to understand it, then we can make it better. When we begin to sit quietly on a regular basis, the mind doesn’t quite grasp what’s going on. The mind needs something to hold on to. It’s job is to think, so if we’re trying to think about nothing it will become more active, looking for something to latch on to. Be aware of this stage in the beginning. Eventually the erratic thinking will slow down.
The next step is to fall into what is called the witness of your own mind. Noticing what you’re thinking about. Is it your calendar, your job, your relationships, your own well-being, etc? Once you become more aware of your thought patterns, you can begin to move them to be more productive. It is important first to understand the mind, then to direct it toward your own desire.
As you begin to sit more and more, you’re thinking will slow down. The chatter becomes less and less while the moments of peace increase more and more. It may have moments of stopping or pausing. That’s when you begin to focus on the space in between the thoughts. You’ve officially broken through the first layer and now you’ve gotten to your natural mind. This is where creativity, productivity, and all of the aha moments come from. It is what Deepak Chopra calls the place of Pure Potentiality.
Finally, you can begin to direct the mind toward what you want. There are many meditation techniques such as visualizing a rose bloom from your chest, bigger and bigger and bigger until it blooms and covers the entire universe with beauty. There is a meditation where, if you have physical or emotional pain, you visualize the pain in your body, then imagine white light surrounding your body and disintegrating the pain. It is the white, healing light that heals you. There is Metta meditation which is a loving kindness meditation where you’re sending all beings everywhere loving kindness. There are many more including simple visualization techniques to manifest your desires.
Once you’re comfortable sitting for a while and you understand your mind, you’re ready to visualize your outcome. Picture yourself already in the situation you desire. Whether it be in a great relationship, leaner, stronger, atop the podium, financially secure, etc. The more you visualize, the more your entire being gravitates toward your desire. And remember, I’m always here to help guide your practice. @teddymcdonald
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