3/26/2009

Taking back control of your mind part II

Our minds have the power to cause great distress in our lives if we allow it. I'm often caught off guard by how quickly I can become emotional over a small issue simply because I was led by a series of uncontrolled thoughts. One of the reasons why we so quickly believe what the mind dictates is because it sounds just like us. Because the mind speaks to us in our own voice, we come to believe that the mind is actually us.

I finally realized my mind was not me when I actually analyzed what was happening. For instance, I would find myself becoming overly emotional, or depressed, frustrated, or whatever because of the constant flowing of negative thoughts. Then I realized that I didn't want to experience those feelings. I felt like I had no control over my reactions to situations even though I desperately wanted to master my emotions. That's when I realized that the simple desire of wanting to change the patterns proved as confirmation that the voice did not represent me. The voice was lying to me.

At that point, I decided that I had to be on my guard at all times. The voice was constantly working in the background so I had to constantly remain vigilant. The key to taking back control of your mind is conscious awareness of your thoughts. Knowing that the mind is constantly interpreting your actions and the actions of those around you will serve as a starting point.

Never let your guard down. This new habit of monitoring your thoughts has to become a permanent part of life. I'll share with you one method I learned from a book called Mindfulness written by Ellen J Langer. The book takes a scientific approach to remaining mindful by detailing the results of a series experiments on the results of living a mindless life as opposed to living in a state of mindfulness. One of the most memorable parts of the book, for me, was when she described three control groups. The first group was deemed the least mindful and went on about their daily routines as they normally would. The second group was described as more mindful because they would be aware of what they did and kept record of their actions. The third and most mindful group of people were asked to do something extraordinary. For example, instead of going to the pantry and grabbing a bag of chips. The group was asked to consciously think of three other options before grabbing the chips and making a conscious decision based on the three options. Those groups of individuals, after the experiment, were described as more confident, in-control, and happier then the other two groups of people.

Mindfulness is about not allowing yourself to operate in a perpetual autopilot. Its about making the decision about what you will do, say, eat, experience without defaulting to the choice your mind makes for you. When your mind makes the choice, it does so without thinking about what truly is the most value-added benefit. Your mind makes choices based on old, out-dated, information.

Decide today what will benefit you most. Would you rather continue down this path of mindlessness or would you rather create new experiences and new realities for yourself by operating in the moment. The choice is yours.

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!"

3/13/2009

Power of Focus podcast

This is my very first podcast entry on the topic of maintaining focus and how imperative it is to our ability to actually see the results we want. Without focus our results just won't be there. Enjoy the podcast. There will be many more to come.

3/02/2009

Are you creating your reality or is your reality creating you?



Creating lasting change in your life requires an enormous amount of mental faculties. Yes, the direction and the pattern of your thinking is a huge indicator of what your reality will ultimately look like. I strongly believe that a new set of continuous thoughts equates to a creation of a new experience. I also believe, however, that one of the most direct ways to help impact your thoughts is to first change your environment.

Think of your surroundings as an anchor to your ship of life. As long as the anchor is firmly planted far beneath the ocean, your boat will never sail. The engines can roar but resistance will always be there. You are intending to change your current reality, what you must first do is determine whether or not you are saying "move forward" or "stay here." I believe one of the most evident ways to determine whether or not you believe in inevitable change is to assess your environment for signs of your move forward.

For instance, some examples of those who are not sold on the idea of moving forward include someone who still holds on to unnecessary mementos of a previous relationship. Or someone who refuses to give up the same types of foods that helped to create their current circumstance. Does your surroundings reflect that air of confidence that you've been attempting to create with your thoughts? If you wish to manifest wealth, are you preparing for the wealth by ridding yourself of useless clutter?

Clutter, I believe, is the biggest obstacle to your ability to create. Clutter takes the place and space of that you wish to manifest. As long as you continue to place items that represent the old you in your direct line of sight, you will find yourself struggling to create that image of the new you in your mind. Every time you gaze upon what you've created through your old habits, you are essentially engraving a deeper carving of the image into your mind.

When you rid your physical world of clutter, you are creating a space whereby you can begin to easily and openly imagine the possibilities. Heck, you can even go out and obtain a new object that represents your new reality and place it where the clutter once resided. Every glance at your physical representation of your possibilities will help you to create both images and feelings of experiencing your manifestation in full glory. You will also find that your creative senses will be heightened when you find yourself in a clutter-free environment.

Take a moment to clear away the items that block your ability to clearly see and experience the new you. If the thought of de-cluttering your entire house intimidates you, set aside a block of time to take on one area at a time. The change in emotions will be instant once you've done this. What you are doing essentially is sending a message to your subconscious that the old is gone away and you are in eager anticipation of the new.