“Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.” – David Allen
If you’re like me, I’m continually drawn to catchy quotes which spark my enthusiasm to delve into the subject matter with gusto. The title of this article may also be called “Making friends with your mind,” for that’s the premise of the discussion in the upcoming paragraphs.
People are often unaware of the how much thought is given to unimportant events in their lives. Awareness is pivotal in this context. When I’m engaged in menial tasks, my mind frequently wanders aimlessly.
As the pilot of my mind, it’s my job to reel her in and tame her (I’m purposely calling my mind “her,” since I like to think of it as wild female stallion!).
Your conscious mind is a cross between a wild stallion and a chimpanzee; both wild and erratic at the best of times. The mind thrives of being in state of continual flux – and living on the edge. It is quick to make assumptions about the past and attempt to predict future; yet it has a disdain for being in the present moment.
Ask yourself this question, “what am I going to think next?” and you’ll quickly see how challenging it is to stay in the present moment. The truth remains crystal clear – you don’t know what the future holds, although your mind likes to draw conclusions based on historical information.
The mind is a store house of data. It is suggested that we rarely engage in conscious thinking, rather we call upon our storehouse of information. From age’s two to six, you’re in a subconscious learning state. Your adult thoughts and beliefs are formed during this impressionable age.
You don’t see the world as it is; rather as you are. Subject reality is the term given to describe this state of being. It is subject to the experiencer viewing the world trough his or her lens. These lenses are filters from which you create your present and future experiences.
The following are helpful exercises to befriend your mind. They key to fully understanding new concepts lies in embracing the learning by experiencing them. Engage with any teaching until you have a complete understanding at the cellular level. You must become the embodiment of that which you seek.
“My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t.” – Samuel Johnson
1. Observe and be mindful of your thoughts
Watching your thoughts means that you DON’T engage with them through validation. For example if you have a thought that says “Karen you’re so stupid, why do you keep doing this?” your mind will search its database for evidence to substantiate the thought. If you performed this action in the past your mind will draw on that experience, thus confirming your thought.
In order to circumvent this, use a neutral thought such as, “Isn’t that interesting.” This thought is observational in nature and does not require the mind to seek answers. The premise of this suggestion is to continually state and ask empowering questions.
2. Don’t judge or label your thoughts
Labelling or judging a thought is merely that – associating a good or bad label to it. When you label or judge a thought you’re categorising the thought as either good or bad (without the risk of stating the obvious). If it’s a bad thought, your mind will create a disagreeable association.
In doing so, it associates the thought with YOU being BAD, since you’re the creator of the thought. Shakespeare said: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” With that in mind (pardon the pun!) allow your thoughts to flow in and out of your mind like calm waters.
A novel approach to becoming adept at this process is via silent witness using meditation. Find some quiet time and observe your thoughts for ten minutes or so. Imagine the thoughts akin to a river and call up an image of a serene river flowing in your mind; linking these with your thoughts.
When you create this scenery, you’re inviting your mind’s faculty to disassociate any MEANING to the thought. In terms of the river analogy, this would mean water flowing in different directions or changing intensity at times. To the observer, there is nothing wrong with this change – just observe by not engaging with the thought.
3. Replace the old thought with a new one
It’s vital that you create new and empowering thoughts while cancelling out the undesirable thoughts. Allow me to demonstrate. If you’re continually sabotaging your success to find a suitable job or career, you might be engaging in the following thought, “I’ll never find the job I like. All the good jobs are taken.”
When this thought appears rather than engage with it, observe it and then replace it with an empowering one like, “the perfect job or career is making its way into my life in an easy and effortless way” or “I am attracting the perfect job or career in an easy and effortless way.”
It’s essential that you cancel the limiting thought and replace it with a new one so that your mind has a NEW frame of reference for the future. You’re training the mind by giving it a new stimuli and removing the old one.
Persist with this exercise, since it takes time to see the benefits of your hard work. Three weeks or more is a good period to begin to see initial results. I’ve been practising these techniques for over seven years and occasionally stumble when a stray thought enters my mind.
4. Question your thoughts
Just because you’re having a thought doesn’t mean you need to identify with the thought as the REAL YOU. Question the motive of your thoughts. If you entertain thoughts of lack and wish to attract prosperity, it stands to reason that you question any limiting thought around poverty wouldn’t you?
When you engage in thoughts such as “I’m poor and broke and will never amount to anything,” cancel the thought by questioning and examining it. Engage in a conversation with the thought as you would a friend.
You’ll soon notice a pattern or theme to your thoughts. Knowing this pattern, you’re suitably equipped to tame the thought process. This is akin to knowing how your friend behaves in their worst state and similarly how they act when they’re at their best.
Armed with this information you can safely navigate your way out of imminent danger by not falling victim to your thought process in the future.
The more you work with your thoughts, the more they’ll serve you. Your ultimate goal is to befriend your thoughts and become attuned to the natural rhythms of your mind.
You become mindful and aware of your thought process by not falling victim to out of control thoughts.
Awareness, patience and resilience are required to master your mind. In due time, you’ll find harmony, balance and an unwavering peace and solitude that no outside disharmony can unsettle.