Sunday, January 2, 2011

Free Your Mind in 2011

Watching the news around the world and at home we are witnessing the ego-mind in mass consciousness.  It screams lack, fear, blame, fight, and more. 
We have no control over what happens in the world, but we do have control over our individual ego-minds which is present within each one of us.  It too runs lack, fear, blame and self-righteousness.  

We created our egos to protect us from the world.
  However, the ego-mind that we created years ago no longer serves us, even though it still runs us today.

Most of us are not aware how our egos keep us in chaos.  We made decisions as children that we subconsciously live by as adults. For example: Our puppy died
when we were eight-years-old so we don't want to get a dog today.  Our girlfriend or boyfriend cheated on us in high school so we don't trust the opposite sex as adults. Someone called you old when you turned 35, so you definitely feel old at 40.   It's important to tune into these thoughts that run usNew Year's Eve Ice.  If left unchecked, they result in toxic emotions that make us sick and depressed.
When some people realize their ego-mind is running them, they want to hurt and crush their ego.  That doesn't work because it only becomes stronger, and you become more frustrated. (What you resist, persists.)  Besides, the ego gets us up in the morning and helps us to go after the tasks at hand. 

It's the ego out of control; some people call the devil, which keeps us running in circles.  The object is to control the mind, and not let it control you.  You are in charge. 

Wake Up
Once you recognize that the chief job of the ego is to protect you, but keeps you in darkness with fears and lack, you can better deal with your feelings.  But you first have to recognize how it operates in your head.
How?  We simply become aware of our thoughts and listen to them.  This is called Mindfulness of thought.  It's one of Buddha's teachings to prevent us from suffering.  We take ourselves off automatic and watch for those ego-mind thoughts (the negatives) and label them.
I am not good enough. (insecure, doubtful)
I don't look good. (insecure)
I'm too old, too fat. (insecure)
I'm broke. (lack)
I may become homeless.(fear, victim)
I could lose my job. (fear)
Everybody is broke. (distraught, disturbed, skeptical)

I'm using up all of my savings. (lack, fear)
I don't like him. (suspicious, threatened, hating)
She got that promotion and she doesn't deserve. (jealous or envious)

I don't want to change. (threatened, apathetic, depressed)
I can't do this it's hard. (defeated, discouraged, disillusioned, hopeless)
Embrace Your Emotions

The ego-mind thoughts left unchecked, create negative emotions.  Embrace those emotions as you would a small, confused child. One of our teachers, Thich Nhat Hahn, World renown Zen Master and Peace Activist (nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King) says name your emotions and embrace them with love. 
"Hello anger. How are you today?" "Hello Fear.  Don't worry.  We are going to be OK."
Surprisingly, once you embrace your emotions and become aware of your thoughts, your mind calms and stress leaves.  It's like turning a light on in a dark room.  

You Are In Charge

1) Tune into your thoughts.  Awareness is like a laser cutting through dark, dismal, feelings created by negative thoughts.  This is what you may tell yourself that is not validated:   "I'm unworthy."  "Nothing good is going to happen for me."  "No one wants me."  "I'm going to get sick." "I'm not going to get better."

2)  Label your thoughts.  Fear, lack anxious, nervous, panic, excited, frustrated, jealous, grief, lust, pride, depression.
3)  Embrace your emotions and thoughts with love, without judgment or criticism.  Just allow them to be.  Don't try to control them.  Stop beating yourself up for having them.  It's OK to have thoughts that are negative.  Everyone has them.  But people who are free, are the ones who recognize the thoughts that don't serve them.  They let them pass without trying to suppress or escape them.
Those of us who feel we are spiritual or religious especially have to be careful because we don't want to admit to ourselves we have negative thoughts.  Nonsense.  Everyone does.  What is important to gain freedom is to recognize those thoughts without judging ourselves or analyzing them.  Allow the thoughts to come and go.
4)  Put a rubber band around your wrist for a week, or signs around your house to remind you to stay in the moment and off automatic.  In the beginning you will have to be extremely vigilant like a palace guard.  However, it becomes easier the more you do it.  Simply observe the thoughts and label them.
5) Use your breath to help you through those fears.  Sometimes you don't know what you are thinking because your thoughts may come  rampantly.  To help you calm your mind, observe your breath.  Label your breathing.  "Breath in, breath out." or "In, out."
6) It helps to keep a notepad to write down the negative thoughts just to flush them out in the open.  You'll be surprised what you are telling yourself.  We have 6,000 or more thoughts per day.  Most of them are the same negative ones. 
7) Be kind and compassionate to you!

Happy New Year!

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