“Whatever you frequently think or ponder, that will become the inclination of your mind.” ~Buddha
What were your thoughts like today?
What kind of mood did you create for yourself?
I invite you to consider this for a moment before continuing to read on.
Your mind continually tends to wander down well-worn paths, and the more you go down them, the more habitual the patterning can become.
The brain is wired for a negativity bias, and it does that to keep us safe (which we need), but is it also keeping you in a routine of negative thinking?
Your thoughts can perpetuate your anxieties, fears and worries, problem solving throughout the day; perhaps problems that aren’t even actually there, but have you caught up in the what if’s.
Or maybe the mind goes to a story that you tell yourself over and over?
I recently noticed this in a pattern of my own, around a belief that I’d had since childhood. While maybe there was a tiny piece of truth in it, over the decades it had become so ingrained by the re-telling of it in my mind, that when I began to question it, I realized it had become so much bigger than the fact itself, yet I was living by it. It was a game changer to be honest!
“We often perceive the reason we are a certain way is because of past events, and every time we recall that event we’re refiring the synapses in our brain, producing the same emotions again. However, the latest research on memory says that 50% of what we talk about in our past isn’t the truth. So we’re constantly reliving our past, often based on things that never actually happened.” ~ Dr Joe Dispenza
Sometimes the most trodden paths are the hardest to see, however, once you do notice you can start to make the shift.
You can develop thoughts that actually help you thrive, rather than keep you in survival mode throughout the day.
This can take time, changing your thought patterns doesn’t happen overnight, but like the more ingrained thoughts, the more you keep at it, the more you’re able to realize you have the choice to go down the new pathway.
“Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain.” ~ Dr Karyn Purvis
While this may seem a lot, it gets easier each time and the clearer the new track becomes.
Meditation is one way of training our attention, and it helps you to become aware of where your thoughts consistently go. Your mind will drift away during meditation, which is very normal, and when it does you can begin to notice what the continual loop might be, to begin to make that connection, and intentionally bring yourself back to the present experience. It in essence gives us a practice ground, so that when we’re out in our eyes open experience, we can do the same.
There’s a tendency to want to judge the mind when you see it’s patterns, so it’s important to step away from the self-criticism, after all you don’t want to put yourself into more stress, it’s simply an opportunity to increase your awareness.
“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.” ~ Robin Sharma
This is why I always consistently come back to the heart connection. When you’re in your heart, this is where you can feel the authenticity of what is really true for you, rather than the monkey mind that can keep you in a state of stress, addictive patterning, or trying to control and figure things out.
One of the questions I like to ask myself, “is this really true?”, and open up for a deep heart based listening of the answer. Challenging your thinking, brings with it a real sense of freedom.
In turn it helps us to choose ways to set ourselves up with a brighter outlook that helps us to thrive.
Can you choose the more compassionate, kinder and encouraging thought, the one that is going to make you feel more positive?
Remember that it has a snowball effect, the more positive thought you choose, the happier you will be, the less impact of stress, and the more ease you will create.
I invite you to contemplate the following statements.
“Everything is working out for me.”
“Everything will work out in perfect time.”
The day’s I choose these in the morning, are consistently much more peaceful.
Pick a statement that feels right for you. You can use one of those, or something that feels better for your needs, and plant it like a seed for the hours ahead.
When the busyness kicks in, or the sticky memory drifts into the mind, or the old mental loop, you can choose and choose again, this is the place you can come back to.
Authors Note: Inspiration for this article comes from a Dharma talk by Tara Brach that I found notes on long after I listened to it. Although I can’t direct you now to that specific talk, I highly recommend her wisdom if you have an opportunity to listen to any of her audio presentations.