Today I read a quote that got me thinking about thoughts.
“The mind is a powerful force. It can enslave us or empower us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy. Learn to use it wisely.” ~~ David Cuschieri
Throughout my life, I have been fascinated by thought and how the mind works. In my later years, the curiousity spread to how does the mind and our thoughts or beliefs impact our health and well-being. How does one go about making a change and what is possible when that change occurs?
I hear people say that they cannot stop thinking about things. Another oft uttered statement is to say another person or event “made them” feel this way. The common thread here is that the person speaking believes that their thoughts or feelings are not in their own control.
Today I would like to challenge you, my friend, to look at these beliefs in a different way. What if you do, indeed, have a choice in what you feel or what circles in your mind? I believe you do.
I have had the good fortune of being an avid reader. I love to absorb words whether they are in books of fiction or textbooks for learning. That love now includes inspirational articles on the web. Learning is my passion. A marriage counsellor once shared an article on something I will call brain mapping as its actual title is long gone from my memory. The basic concept is that our brain has pathways not unlike a pliable country road. Our thought patterns and habits of how we think create ruts in the mind which become our go to responses. Think of the ruts on a soft dirt road that your tires fall into and just follow along, almost with no intervention required by your hands on the wheel.
There are positive and negative aspects of these ruts, if you will. When something good happens such as hearing a favourite song, your brain may take you down the path of a wonderful memory and the automatic response is for you to smile. On the flip side, a familiar phrase or action may trigger a negative response from our mind. On auto pilot, we may get angry, sad or frustrated by words that meant nothing by the speaker because they trigger a response from us via the well-worn paths of experience.
Allow me to provide an example. Growing up the words “good enough” held a significant power for me. I felt not “good enough”. Things were said to be “good enough” for me or for us; indicating that if they were for another person, they would need to be better but would do for JUST us. Later in life, a casual acquaintance could evoke a highly charged response inside of me by daring to utter those words. I could say that they “made me feel bad” or “made me feel like I was less than” because of these words. It has taken a long time, but I have elected to grab the wheel in this and many other situations. Instead of allowing myself to travel the well-worn path in my mind, I hit the brakes and stopped to answer the following questions. Why am I feeling this way? Does this emotion belong to the present moment or is this a trigger from past experience? Do I really want to respond in that way or should I clarify the speaker’s meaning? Then I grab on to the steering wheel and make a new path by choosing my reply, clarifying understanding and creating a new and better experience.
You can too. No one can make you feel any particular way. It is all in your choosing. The first step is to find balance. I found mine through Reiki and meditation.
You can choose a new path. Who knows what beautiful sights you may see and relationships you may build along the way!