Monday, July 27, 2009

Our Brains on Joy

I’ve been thinking lately about mind training and the notion of brain washing our minds for positive and happy changes in our lives. The thought of brain washing has had a bad rap in our culture but the truth of the matter is that our thinking is constantly being manipulated through advertising, films, television and the news. We get it whether we want it or not. Unfortunately, it is mostly negative input, which often leaves us feeling tired, depressed or unhappy and then we wonder why our lives are not better. Let’s face it; our world is skewed toward negativity. We take it in as a matter of fact because it is disguised as relevant, important and sensationalistic. Let’s begin to feed our brains a better diet to see what happens to our physical world.

I was challenged this week with an old, habitual thought pattern (and who knows where it came from). A circumstance arose that elicited a dormant thought stream of fear and paralysis. I became determined not to let it dictate the patterns of my life. I wasn’t interested in its origin; I just wanted to change it. Going back to the source to figure out where thoughts began can frequently make matters worse causing a downward spiral of cause and effect. Another teacher of mine, Terry Cole Whitaker, used to say – and I paraphrase here – “Once I throw out my trash, I’m not inclined to go through it again.” Lecturer and author on “A Course In Miracles,” Jacob Glass, drives home the point by using an example of a car's GPS system. He explains that if your GPS goes offline for some reason and you become lost, when it comes back online the first thing it wants to do is help you find your destination. It does not say, “How in the world did you get here? This must be your mother’s fault.” Years of analysis may not always be the answer. As Byron Katie says, “I’m a woman in a hurry.” Let’s be in a hurry for good to come our way and make a conscious effort to judiciously select thoughts that we take on as fact, and question the ones that are habitual but not true. It requires vigilance. And like any habit, the more you practice the easier and more ingrained it becomes.

I would encourage you this week not to focus and replay thoughts that make you feel bad. These thoughts will not create the future that you want. Remember, we have 60,000 thoughts per day; 87% of those thoughts are negative and repetitive. 99% of all those negative thoughts are a gross misrepresentation of reality; they are simply not true and they are unreliable. Why would we want to continue to think or believe them? Talk about a happiness downer. As author, Anne Lamott warns, “My mind is a bad neighborhood and I shouldn’t go there alone.”

I would encourage you to simply begin to focus on the positive aspects of your life. Let’s leave the morbid statistics, warnings and fear to the advertisers trying to sell us something. If you look for more beauty you will begin to notice it everywhere. Let’s make an effort to stay away from the four emotional cancers: comparing, competing, criticizing and complaining. Continue to appreciate and write lists of things that are going right in your life; compliment yourself and others more often. Seek out activities that make you feel good – funny movies, intimate moments with friends and family and materials that inspire you (books, articles, blogs, YouTube videos, etc.). Remember, this is your life. It’s time to begin ignoring negativity and disturbing, repetitive thoughts and leave them behind for the lies that they are. Let’s begin a new regime of happiness and let’s do it with confidence.

Here are some new suds for your brain:

1. Happiness is vital. It isn’t some airy-fairy, vapid stance that we assume just to be nice. It is a choice – a powerful choice that changes everything. It provides essential hormones and chemicals for health, youth and vitality; it is contagious on every level: spiritually, emotionally and cellularly; it changes the way we begin to think about ourselves. As a result, things begin to shift because the circumstance we attract are vastly different. Money may not bring happiness, but happiness may bring money – think about that one for minute.

2. Thought creates. When we change our thoughts, which are the first act of creation, we change our lives. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, writes, “Thoughts have the peculiar quality of becoming their physical equivalence.”

3. Thoughts are attractive – they invite similar vibratory thoughts. The more depressed or morbid our thoughts, the worse we feel. Conversely, the better our thoughts, the better thoughts we attract and the better we feel, which causes a cascade of universal, chemical and relational support for better circumstances in our lives. It is an upward spiral.

4. Habits are just thoughts we keep on thinking. They are not set in stone and they can change with heightened consciousness, awareness and vigilance. Remember what my teacher, Dr. Vetura Papke used to say, “Put a gatekeeper up at the portal of your mind.”

Let’s begin the process of positive brain washing by exposing our brains to more joy, appreciation and happiness; then we will begin a powerful transformation of our lives.

I leave you this week with a prayer, by Macrina Wiederkehr, author of Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers and Reflections. “Oh God, Help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.”

1 comment:

  1. You are just like a cozy blanket. Thanks for the beautiful words.