Your thoughts have the power to shape your life. Many believe thoughts are set in stone and thus cannot be changed. Perhaps this is due to ignorance and naivety for the most part. As one cannot see a thought, they believe it is separate from them; happening ‘to them’ rather than ‘through them.’
Writing this post was borne out of frustration and observation of my own thought process. Barely when I began making progress taming my thoughts; something would occur out of the blue, throwing a spanner in the works – thus diminishing all the good work achieved.
In doing so my thoughts were scattered aimlessly as though one had unravelled a cotton ball. Trying to put it back to together was futile. Upon waking the next day, my thoughts were tranquil, peaceful and flowing. They resembled the ocean tides; sometimes furious, yet other times calm and composed. It was difficult to make sense of it.
You may be asking how one can tame their thoughts if there’s a degree of uncertainty and dynamic unrest to them. The spiritual perspective advocates you stop resisting the flow of thought, no matter how violent and oppressive. This is akin to becoming a silent witness observing waves coming in to the shore line.
I’ve mentioned in previous articles on limiting thoughts, the Eastern principle states you are not your thoughts. Working with your thoughts is challenging; I make no excuses on offering the truth. The difference with those who persist and those who don’t is evidenced in the way life flows in an easy and relaxed manner.
The benefits of understanding and working with your thoughts include:
- Reduction in stress levels – your thoughts oscillate in a steady flow with no peaks and troughs. Stress is caused by external stimuli which cause internal unrest.
- Improved sense of wellbeing and health – you’re less likely to entertain thoughts of lack, ill-health, disease and pain since you understand the mechanism underlying the toxic and destructive thought process.
- Better coping mechanism – your threshold or tolerance levels are greatly improved. What may have set you off previously now has little impact. You remain stable and less likely to react emotionally to external stressors.
- More successful – those who understand and work with their thoughts are able to navigate their way through most of life’s dramas. They’re less affected by their outside world. This is especially true when playing the stock market. Warren Buffet was quoted as saying, “Until you can manage your emotions, you’ll never master money.”
- You see opportunity in everything – those who work with the natural flow of their minds see opportunities in everything; especially during troubled times. Their minds are geared toward success, prosperity and abundance instead of lack. Wouldn’t this be a great quality to have? Being able to navigate your way out of any situation knowing you have the resources to do so.
Reclaiming Your Power
How do you know your thoughts are balanced? Look to your outside world. Notice things that used to upset you, now wash over you. I’ve observed my reaction to other’s emotional insecurities is less inclined these days. I remain poised and stable, knowing it takes a great deal to destabilise me.
I recall years ago, the young person within continually feeling insecure and inadequate. His mind in a feedback loop, endlessly processing unwanted thoughts. It got me nowhere, except useless internal dialogue which achieved little.
Meditation assisted in many ways. Being in silence, alone with my thoughts, allowed me to transform my daily living habits. If you’re not currently practising meditation in, I urge you to consider incorporating it into your life. You needn’t adopt it as vigorously as Eastern opinion suggests. Easing into it, by slowly finding what works for you is the best form of adopting a new habit.
My family and friends often cringe at the thought of spending time alone in silence. They continually require noise and people in their life to validate their existence.
Your soul is the quiet inner voice which speaks in whispers. Going into silence regularly, provides a perfect space for that voice to seek expansion. If you struggle sitting in silence for more than ten minutes, I suggest one of two things. You may not be ready for meditation at this stage. Alternatively you should persist with the practise until it becomes adopted. Either way, it takes time and patience like most things, to adjust to a new behaviour; especially when taming the mind. I didn’t force the process when I started; rather taking my time and enjoying the experiencing along the way.
Next time your thoughts are out of balance, pause for a moment by insisting that a wave of peace and love come over you. Don’t silence the thoughts, as doing so means resisting what is. Your natural state is that of peace and harmony. Make a declaration using affirmations or images to induce such a state.
Working with thoughts is akin to driving a car. You’re continually adjusting your course; accelerating, braking, cornering and slowing down. Your thoughts have the same influence over you. In the case of the vehicle, you are navigating it in the direction you wish to go. With your thoughts however, you become a passenger without a steering wheel. You’re now the observer.
When your thoughts are hurtling out of control at ferocious speeds, instead of pressing on the brakes, allow yourself to go in the same direction. Since you’re not attached to the destination (outcome), you’re simply observing and taking note of the main themes of the thoughts. In doing so, you build awareness of the thought’s intensity, in order to navigate your way toward calmer waters.
Remember, you CANNOT stop unwanted thoughts. Doing so means resisting what is. Your resistance to what IS becomes the source of suffering. This creates more of the same suffering.
In order to break the cycle, go with the FLOW of your thoughts. Question the thoughts by challenging the validity underlying them. Most of all – don’t take yourself seriously. You are here to learn and grow which means stepping out of your comfort zone in order to make mistakes. Personal growth means that you’ll undoubtedly come up against road blocks. Your mission – if you choose to accept; is to allow the experience to unfold while learning the valuable lesson.
Tony Fahkry is an expert in integrating the mind-body connection with health & healing and personal growth to achieve greater human potential.
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