3/24/2009

Taking back the control of your mind

For the past several days I've operated with a feeling slight feeling of uneasiness. Not being completely sure where the feeling came from or what it meant, I merely proceeded to move on ignoring it hoping it would go away. Finally, I had to stop and figure out what was happening because I felt as though the feeling was becoming stronger by the day. That is when I realized that I had not been living in the present moment and was allowing my subconscious mind to take full control.

When we go through the course of a normal day, and proceed to repeat a set of actions similar to what we did the day before, the conscious mind has little involvement. The subconscious mind, however, take complete advantage of our mindless daily actions and proceeds to fill our minds with infinite thoughts. In general, we should avoid operating in states of being "zone out" for prolonged periods of time because of the amount of opportunity for our subconscious minds to take over. Unless you have taken time to condition the subconscious to work for and not against you, I highly suggest that you attempt to operate in a state of presence whenever possible.

So how does a person operate in a state of presence? Lets first start off by describing what the state of presence looks like. When I think of being present, I picture someone who is operating in the moment fully aware of what is happening and making conscious choices and decisions along the way. For instance, someone in the present does not rely on reflexive behavior engrained in the subconscious mind but instead purposely choses how to react in various situations. An example would be of a person who may receive a questionable comment from someone at work. Instead of simply reacting to that person's comment, and possibly end up saying something he might regret, the conscious person takes a moment to quickly assess the situation, and perhaps decide that spewing out a reflex response is simply not worth it.

Another example of a person operating in the present is one who stops and thinks about consequences of a purchase according to the budget he or she established. Taking back the control of your mind simply means that you aren't letting your mind replay out the same patterns over and over again. Just because you may have overeaten in the past doesn't mean you have to do it today. Just because you were shy in the past does not mean you have to play the part today. I strongly believe that each one of us should be constantly striving to remain in a state where we can make conscious choices about how we chose to act in any and every circumstance. So let's talk a little about how we do that.

The first step to taking back the control of your mind is to realize that your mind has taken control of you! You have to become aware of the fact that whenever you are not truly present in any situation, your mind automatically kicks in and takes over. When our minds take over, it pulls from past experiences and uses the established patterns of the past in the present moment. This is not a bad thing in the case of driving a car or washing dishes. But when you are trying to overcome unfavorable habits that you've once had in the past, your subconscious mind is no longer your friend but is now the one sabotaging your efforts.

The remedy to this dilemma is to commit yourself to operating in the present whenever possible. This means the difference between walking on a city sidewalk and making it across a stream on stepping stones. The fact that one wrong step means falling into the water causes you to be much more careful of your actions. Notice also that you won't be thinking of your grocery shopping list at that moment. You'll be there 100%. Operating in the present is not easy, it's like walking around with your stomach sucked in at all times.....nearly impossible. Sure we can do it whenever required but maintaining that state is often difficult.

I'll cover more practical ways to live in the present in my next post which will be part two of this series.

"Till next time!"

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