The previous weeks you learned to start off the day by tilting your day toward gratitude and good feelings. That’s where your body is starting to think you start. Then you learned to use your emotions as signals that indicate your thought processes. Then you became aware of a better direction your thoughts and attention can easily go. And this week we’ll be homing in on the act of intentionally changing direction.
Keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to not process the world through words and concepts at all, but that’s more than you need to tackle all at once. By learning to shift our thoughts we are learning to shift our focus and therefore our experiences shift to something more positive–something that provides us with nourishment for our spirit rather than taxing our soul.
A clear view requires a calm mind. It is much easier to settle ourselves once our consciousness is elevated. So long as we’re not striving to have it always be elevated we can live in a very positive state of mind with less effort than it takes to struggle, suffer and blame.
We touched last week on the idea that you have two routes that will be easiest for you–one for suffering and another for saving. Already you’re presenting your feelings to yourself differently. Rather than someone at home or work or school being to blame, or being wrong, you want to watch that Dominant Negative Emotion until you fully appreciate that your reactions are nothing more than habits.
Remember, it’s not like what you’re doing is hard. These pipes in your brain for ideas–these avenues of thought that you take–these are essentially the same size either way. And you’re making the choice now to follow your most common habit. You just want to make yourself more conscious–which you already did by noting your physical and emotional response, and you want to make the more positive choice–which you did by practicing gratitude each day for a month now.
Your mind is set up to succeed. The worst thing you’ll do is either lose consciousness of where your thoughts actually were, or you’ll criticize yourself for every opportunity you miss. Negativity is negativity whether it’s about you or your health or anything else. It’s what’s going on inside yourself. Stop trying to be right or smart or strong and start trying to be peaceful or happy.
Have a list of go-to Youtube videos that you know you’ll laugh at. I use those Skype laugh chains which I cannot watch for more than three people. A 60 second recovery’s nothing to complain about. Some people find it funny to watch people run into things, or get scared or be confused. There’s no shortage of any of those things on the web. You can do a puzzle, listen to a great singer, stare into the face of your pet, watch a comedian–it’s never been easier to be happier. But instead everyone looks at the misery in the world as though focusing on it will make it shrink rather than add to it.
You will see what you look for. Start getting much more conscious and intentional about what you look for. Don’t surrender your day to a series of habits that you’ve become completely unconscious to. Wake up, make the choices the happy and peaceful people make and you will be happy and peaceful too.
It’s always been in you–it’s your natural resting place. It’s who we all were as kids. We were still us. We were just much happier versions. Maybe we learned to be sad or angry or bitter in our early years, maybe our later. Either way, the way out is the same: pay attention to what feels good and do what you can to encourage more of it.
Thanks everyone. Now go create yourself a wonderful day.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.