Our fast-paced, competitive, impersonal world makes finding time for looking within inconvenient. Greedy conglomerates are making big money off of our insecurities with promises of products providing what we need. We're manipulated into believing that our happiness can be found with fancy purchases, luxurious vacations, or quick-fix solutions for losing weight, looking younger, or buying whatever thrills life is lacking. Unfortunately, the things from this world are fleeting and unfulfilling.
We turn to a cold world in search of comfort from a power structure that definitely doesn't have our best interests at heart. "Our ego, known for sending us false messages about our true nature, easily leads us to make assumptions about what will make us happy and we end up frustrated. It pushes us to promote our self-importance while we yearn for a deeper and richer life experience. It causes us to fall into the void of self-absorption again and again, not knowing that we need only shed the false idea of who we are." (Dr. Wayne Dyer) Our ego keeps us playing "the game." To protect us, it will backstab, lie, cheat, and blame to get what it wants.
Blaming others for our unhappiness comes at a cost. We rarely see the other three fingers glaring back at us when we're reacting and pointing the finger blaming others? When do we look within?
Hidden within our core lies the truth, a voice of wisdom. As ego busies itself with its methods of distraction, keeping us clouded from realizing our true selves, a more formidable force patiently waits. It's the heart that holds our mirror to the soul, and if we can release ego's grip long enough, we can look within for discovering an inner reality rather than an outer illusion.
Like a frustrated dog spinning around in circles, trying vainly to catch its tail, we chase after something that, once caught, can't make us feel better.
One culprit frustrating us, keeping us uninspired, is faulty thinking. Our mind has over 70,000 thoughts per day, and "amazingly, 95 percent are the same thoughts repeated every day. On average, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative since our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones." (Cleveland Clinic Wellness). Negative thinking is like a perpetual traffic jam, keeping us feeling stuck, angry, anxious, and defeated. This is when we need to step out of the car for a breather.
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
-- Carl Jung (1875-1961)
Intimidated by the cacophonous din of honking horns, we'll resist getting out of the car to assess the situation, but we're quick to make a reckless U-turn to make our escape. While escaping provides a temporary respite from the chaos, we eventually get jammed up a little further down the road; stuck, frustrated, and lost, once again.
Our mind seems to be driving us crazy as dialogue in the mind is filled with ego interference. Our mistaken beliefs have been jamming us up for so long we don't even recognize it. We've been retelling ourselves and others the same old story for years, operating robotically, reliving the past or worrying about the future. The ego makes things up and distorts what we think about ourselves. A distorted mind causes our muscles to contract, distorting the natural rate in which our bodies are meant to vibrate. "It's natural for our muscles to contract because of dangers the body-mind felt it needed to protect itself from. But when this tension isn't released and hence becomes chronic, it prevents the body from being fully alive in the present. It's ability to express its organic liveliness is restricted by the patterns of muscle tension." (Berceli, David. Trauma Release Process)
Gaining access to our inner energetic field allows us to experience feeling alive and connected to the universe. As we become more aware of our inner energy, more in touch with our body, we can feel with the heart and begin to shift our consciousness. A shift in consciousness challenges our sense of separateness from others as we lift our energy level and vibrational frequency. Life seems somehow less threatening when we feel reconnected with not only ourselves but also with the universe. Unlike the mind, the body only exists in the present moment. The more we connect with the body, we send the noisy ego into the background so we can bring a spiritual awareness into the foreground; an awareness that we are a living organism connected to all other living organisms.
A change in thinking is uplifting and brings positive energy necessary for shifting direction.
Much like a car, the mind steers where the car (my body) goes. The slightest shift of the wheel drastically changes our course.
Up until my thirties, my mind messed me up. I lived mostly in my head, replaying the past or worrying about the future. I wasn't grounded in the present until reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's, Simple Abundance which motivated me to start a gratitude journal. Focusing on the little things in life: smiling, a sunny day, a fresh, hot cup of coffee, rather than harping on just the negative fostered a sense of gratitude. Feeling grateful for what I had instead of fretting over what I lacked precipitated my shift from being somewhat cynically minded to becoming more open-minded, trusting, and optimistic. Shortly thereafter, Eckhart Tolle's, A New Earth inspired my Ah-ha realization that I possess all that I need. I was constantly searching for more . . . in books, in sensory pleasures, in more education, in a mentor/teacher for something that's been with me all along -- What I really needed was feeling connected and loved. My external search ended once I realized my worthwhile search begins by looking within.
Moving out to the West Coast was instrumental in pushing me to examine my thinking, to stretch myself by challenging rather than avoiding my beliefs, especially regarding religion and understanding my relationship with God. A more liberal atmosphere, coupled with lots of sunshine and outdoor activity, lifted my mood and helped to shift my thinking. Tolle's book offered a new way to do life. I learned to observe my thoughts so that I could recognize what I'm saying to myself. In doing so, I started seeing how ego was running my mind. While ego was in the driver's seat, I was separating from my true self, becoming disconnected with my body. I allowed ego to send me false messages about who I really was and let it kick my heart to the curb.
Tears of relief flowed as I let my heart in. I lassoed my ego and strapped him into the backseat, instructing him to wait quietly until further notice. This is when I really understood that God was never far-away, and that I didn't need to visit church to commune with Him. God has been within my heart all along, quietly anticipating this victory over ego. Tuning out ego was the key to tuning into my heart. Trusting my heart put God into the driver's seat with me. By handing over the wheel, I keep God first in my heart and life, so I have the proper perspective and attitude in dealing with other things in my life, especially ego.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…
All I needed was an alignment. Seeing how my mind was getting me into trouble, I discovered I needed to rely upon my body as my greatest ally. My body helps me stay grounded for living in the present moment. Proper alignment gives me space for choosing, for feeling, for trusting my intuition. An actively calm, peaceful, trusting heart handles traffic jams well. Equipped with God as my GPS, I'm more optimistic about staying on course, with fuel in the tank for journeying freely.
My inner turmoil lifted when I stepped out of my head to make room for opening my heart. Life's more fun trusting the Universe; it's filled with curiosity rather than doubt. Good things come with positivity and when situations trigger stress or provoke anxiety, as they will, I trust all things to work out as they should. I'm inviting inner joy by giving up control and casting my cares on God. My inner map uses my heart as its compass.
Balancing the mind-body-soul is really about doing our inner work for learning how to live in the world without being of the world. Essentially, we have free will for choosing how we do life. We think, therefore, we feel. We can stop blaming the world; we can keep it from defining and controlling us. We just need to open up our hearts to do so. A beautiful heart creates a peaceful, joyful interior world for reflecting beauty and magic in our exterior world, for seeing God everywhere.
Are you ready to do life differently? Are searching for more joyful appreciation?
1) Quiet time spent each day examining your thoughts is a good way to start. Try journaling, walking, praying, meditating, yoga, swinging on swings, tossing a ball back and forth, or singing; sound and movement help us connect; providing a sensory rhythm, keeping us in synch and fostering a sense of attunement and pleasure.
2) Choose to think positively. Use breath to clear the mind. Do Box Breathing: take a deep cleansing breath in through the nose (count of 4), hold for 4, then blow out fear, doubt, worry, anger, and negativity through the mouth on a count of 4, then hold gently at the bottom for a count of 4. Repeat 3 xs - 5 xs.
3) Practice Turning negative thoughts into positive affirmations:
Example: change this negative statement: "I can't do it all alone,"
By positively affirming: "I can do all things by trusting in a greater Power. His presence and unconditional love help me create a beautiful inner and outer world where I am alive in Him again and never lonely."
4) Scan your body. for energy blockages. The body stores emotions and keeps us stuck and in pain.
Lie on back with knees bent, feet firmly planted on the floor. Start scanning from the top of the head down to the toes, stopping to breathe through any pain or blockages. Next, send breath up through the feet while scanning upwards to the head. Deliberately send your breath up and down the body until more relaxed. Once relaxed, send a few final cleansing breaths, while imagining white healing light as it enters the crown of the head going down throughout all parts of the body and then sending it out your feet. Finally, straighten legs and relax on back for a few minutes -- concentrate on deep breathing, in and out from your nose. No thoughts, just breath.
Thoughts are our greatest investment. So remember, invest wisely. We have the power to choose . . .