Our minds are wonderful for solving problems, putting things in order, getting the job done, while also making sense of our daily reality. The mind is a reasoning machine that likes to keep us busy ruminating on the past and figuring out the future. The Yogis compare the mind to a drunken monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion: very, very, active. It’s our job to train our minds to focus on those thoughts that serve us and not attach to the negative thoughts of perpetual worry and fear.
We are all familiar with the voice in our head that belittles us; the voice that is judgmental, fearful, self-doubting and keeps us busy worrying. Most of the time this voice is not valid, and certainly is not a good leader, yet we tend to listen to it. The big question is, where do thoughts come from and why should we believe them?
Most thoughts come from the foundation of our experiences, which we accept as true. Beliefs create thoughts, thoughts create feelings, and feelings create the actions we take. Tony Robbins says that beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that dis-empowers them or one that can literally save their lives. We need to make the choice as to what we want to spend our time thinking about.
What we think about, we bring about.
Without our negative thoughts, we would have a calm mind and live in peaceful harmony. Eckhart Tolle tells us, “Don’t take your thoughts seriously.” Being able to observe your mind means you’re larger than your thoughts. If we are something other than our thoughts, then who are we? We are the observer of our thoughts. The job of this observer is to discriminate and make the best decisions. The only problem is we lose the connection as the observer, as we are constantly pulled into the dramas of our daily life.
So what can we do to become more aware of the thoughts that don’t serve us? The practice of meditation is a perfect way to begin. Meditation is the letting go of thoughts, both positive and negative. We learn to connect as the observer of our thoughts. We release all thoughts while practicing non-attachment, which is temporally disconnecting from our emotional bonds. Meditation is accepting each moment while being fully present.
By practicing meditation, we acquire the skill of making the object of meditation more important than our thoughts.
When the state of meditation is achieved our mind eventually ceases to thirst for anything. Here we experience peace, clarity, and a reality that is free from judgment, attachment, desperation and personal interest. The state of meditation is very difficult to describe and must be experienced. This deep feeling of peace is already within us, just as the oak tree is already in the acorn. All we need to do is get our thoughts, fears, and thinking patterns out of the way and then experience this wonderful, natural state. Just let go and allow it to happen.
Another practice I use daily is whenever I become aware of unproductive thinking, I repeat to myself, “I am.” It’s a type of mantra. Repeating it brings me back into the moment as I release thoughts. An additional tool I use when I find myself in worry or fear is I immediately take a deep breath, release thoughts and think of something I am grateful for. These techniques break the negative thinking cycle. Practicing these techniques takes a strong desire to become liberated from the trappings of the mind. You will develop the ability to break free of the old way of seeing things and look at them in a fresh new way while becoming a happier, healthier person. Don’t believe everything you think. Your success will follow with consistent practice.
Dr. Jeff Gero is a meditation teacher, psychotherapist and stress management specialist. Over the years thousands of people throughout the world have benefited from his programs and CD’s. Jeff is also a personal and corporate coach as well as helping people achieve more success with less stress. In his book, Secrets to Success at Work, Dr. Gero uses his unique ability to weave vital success principles into a delightful story. Jeff also coaches athletes to enhance their performance. He can be reached at Pacific Coast Sports Medicine at 818-879-1373.