It doesn’t matter which way you look at it - from the perspective of a scientist, a religious person, or a law of attraction believer - our thoughts shape a huge portion of our lives and our life experience.
I think we can all agree that what we think about, at the deepest part of our being, is what comes about, in a very real way. Look back in hindsight and we see this is always the way.
Being able to think and use the mechanism of logic is a huge privilege. It is what has enabled us to rise above other forms of life and live structured, safe lives, away from primal dangers such as being eaten or dying from basic illnesses.
"Our thoughts shape a huge portion of our lives and our life experience..."
But here’s the kicker:
For most of us, the mind is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because of all the benefits it bestows upon us. A curse because it very often does what it likes, sometimes taking us to places (mentally, emotionally and spiritually) that we have no intention of visiting.
Have you ever woken up and wondered how you got to where you are? If you are unhappy with your present situation it is likely that you do this often, perhaps many times a day.
Your mind did that to you. Your mind that is stingy, wild and, for all intents and purposes, currently out of your control.
Whilst this is happening you are missing out on the largest power source in your life - perhaps in the entire universe.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at some specific steps that will help us get the reigns back to our thought machine. And, by extension, get the reigns back our life.
The best part?
You can begin right now, wherever you are.
A Four-Step Process to Learning How to Control your Thoughts
Observe yourself and see how your thoughts create your reality
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think,” said the Buddha, over 2,500 years ago. “When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
You must learn how to control your thoughts. The contents of our minds create a veil, through which we perceive the world.
Everything we see is passed through this filter first, which is made up of our observations, judgements, prejudices and past experiences. Nothing can escape it which is why, when someone has lost control of their mind, they seem to feel as though the past is repeating itself endlessly.
Check out this video:
What is really happening is that they are living their life through their past thoughts and because they are not introducing new thoughts, the film plays over and over again until something external changes it (the loss of a loved one, a job, a new opportunity etc).
This web is, for all practical uses, our world. We live in it alone. Other people only flit in and out, in relation to the rest of the web of perception.
Because of this fact, one important task presents itself. We must take 100% responsibility for the thoughts we entertain.
e must not complain or condemn our life situation, or anyone/anything in it, because we made it! Instead, if we are not happy with the way things are, we must put forth all of our effort to change our perceptive veil.
Meditate and see your world come to life
Meditation hasn’t survived for thousands of years for nothing. Even a simple practice has been shown to have lasting benefits on mental and emotional health, often with benefits flowing out into other areas of life as our sense of well-being exponentially increases.
When we sit to meditate we focus inwardly, connecting with that inside of us that never changes.
When we can anchor ourselves in this way, our thoughts and emotions - once so powerfully charged - lose a large amount of their importance. We can let them float by, on a river of unimpeded energy, until our perception is clear.
The best part of all of this?
Learning to detach from thoughts like this is the first step to effective mind control. Used often, whenever you are feeling stressed or in need of inspiration, is an awesome way to take back control of your mental stream.
Check out this guide: Beginners How to
Watch your thoughts and see how they have shaped your life
When we have enough experience at letting the thoughts pass by, we must learn to watch them objectively. This means seeing them arise, watching them float across the eye of our perception, and then disappearing back into pure awareness.
Often, when you begin this practice, your mind will suck you in with an emotionally-charged thought. Because of this, observation of thoughts is best practiced initially in a meditative setting.
Afterward, however, when you reached a sufficient level of detachment from the mental content, you will be able to practice it anywhere.
Cultivate the space between thoughts and know real peace
The more proficient you become at watching your thoughts, the more chances you will have to experience the bliss of pure awareness. In the Zen-tradition, this is called ‘no mind’ or ‘beginner’s mind’.
It is a state of complete mental silence and is considered a spiritual state by many cultures around the world.
Don’t be discouraged if you slip from this seat of awareness once realised. Just because our thoughts are temporarily defeated, that doesn’t mean there aren’t more still lurking in the subconscious.
Often, at this point, long forgotten hurts and traumas begin to surface in the psyche, finally uncovered enough to be brought into awareness and processed. This can be a painful experience but be sure to keep your objectivity to the mental stream and just watch it all as it passes by.
This is the place where great healings occur. In the Christian tradition, it is called ‘the Dark Night of the Soul’.
Living your life from new awareness
As you begin to live and breathe your new awareness, as well as the realisation that your thoughts do not have ultimate control over you, your life can only change for the better.
Now you can start to place thoughts in your mind that correlate with the things you want to have, the places you want to go and the person you want to be.
One way to do this is through the use of positive affirmations, constantly repeated, until they are accepted by the subconscious mind and replace the negative thoughts you have displaced via the witnessing meditation.
But here’s the thing:
You might not choose to do this at all. You might choose to see where the path of witnessing leads, away from more thoughts, into the state of pure awareness, no longer disturbed by the mental stream.
This state is traditionally called ‘enlightenment’ and, from many accounts over the millennia, is the end of all trials and a return to the source. From there, it is done.
The choice is yours.