In keeping with my last blog post titled “It’s All in Your Mind,” I have been in hot pursuit of the potential riches that lie in wait for those who can truly get a handle on their thoughts. Be aware: this is no easy task! An untrained mind is like an untrained dog: chaotic, rude, driven by impulse, and inclined to be harmful to self and others. And most of the time we’re not even aware that this is happening.
As part of my renewed focus on managing my thoughts, I have been going through some lessons and meditations in a program created by Dr. Joe Dispenza, renowned chiropractor, neuroscientist, lecturer, and best-selling author. In a nutshell, he teaches people how to program their brains (through conscious thought, emotion, and meditation) for the outcomes they desire in their lives. One of the most important steps in this process is the practice of becoming acutely aware of one’s own thoughts.
Take a moment to consider this: have you ever really thought about your thoughts? Have you ever really paid attention, moment by moment, to all the stuff that flits through your brain?
When I did, I was stunned to discover how much of it is petty and negative. I could hear this voice chattering in an irritated tone and basically bitching non-stop about whatever circumstances I was facing in the moment. You know, things like: someone left their laundry in the dryer; the counter didn’t get wiped down; oh my God, I have to think up a dinner plan again; there’s no time for anything; I’m so sick of being the only one who loads the dishwasher; why is that idiot driving so fast? And on and on. Also, and aside from being generally annoyed with everything in life, I discovered that a ton of my thoughts are driven by a certain emotion: fear. Apparently, I’m afraid of everything!
The most illuminating part of this practice, though, has got to be what I discovered I think about myself:
· I am tired
· I am stupid
· I am timid
· I am afraid
· I am unworthy
· I am traumatized
· I am ridiculous
· I am unable
No, I don’t think these things about myself all the time, but I was certainly able to identify some thought/emotion feedback loops, where either a thought feeds into an emotion (or vice versa), which then reinforces itself in a constant loop. I am learning to break those loops by bringing awareness to the problem, and then flipping those thoughts into what I desire: I am energized, confident, capable, accomplished, generous, courageous, authentic, and so on. It’s not enough to just realize that we really don’t want to think the thoughts we’ve been thinking; we have to decide what we do want to think, instead.
It’s a little disorienting, by the way. To pull your brain and your heart out of those old, habitual grooves can definitely cause some dissonance. Don’t be deterred! Keep at it. The rewards are well worth the effort, and I can absolutely attest to the fact that I am less afraid of everything than I have been in a very long time; more productive; happier; and, honestly, more myself. Which, it turns out, is someone I don’t know very well because of all the things my brain has said about me, that I don’t actually need to believe.
Change your thoughts; change your life. It really is true.