How Can we Let Go of The Thoughts & Behaviors That are Not Serving Us?
In part 2 we looked at the obstacles (negative thoughts, emotional trauma & limiting beliefs ) that stand in the way of us taking back control of our mind and regaining the power to change our story.
In part 3 we will look at strategies and solutions that can help us to take 100% responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It is only when we take full responsibility for ourselves do we allow the opportunity to move beyond our limitations.
Let me start by sharing the story of The Two Wolves told by an old Cherokee to his Grandson to help us gain a better understanding of how our minds work!
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
The story of the two wolves presents a powerful message that outlines the struggles that we face everyday within our own minds. What the story fails to tell us, is that sometimes we may not have control over the wolf that we are feeding, let me explain what I mean by this:
Zen buddhism refers to the mind being split into two areas, the thinking and the observing mind.
- The Thinking mind is that part of the mind that is constantly caught up in the thinking cycles either ruminating about the past or projecting forwards towards an uncertain future. If the thinking mind was an animal then it would be likened to the characteristics of that of a monkey, an extremely mischievous monkey ,I might add.
- The Observer mind is the part of the mind that observes the actions of the mind, it reminds me of the court scribe that watches over the proceedings and activities of the court. Jotting down in short hand the minutes for later use in putting together a detailed analysis of the outcomes to help the Court personnel to make well-balanced and fair judgments.
The two minds the we have identified here as the Observer and the Thinking are not dissimilar to the characteristics of that of the white and black wolf. One wolf has our back and has pure motives in moving us forward towards our greater good whilst the other is like that nagging voice in the back of our head that holds us back and wins the title of our greatest critic.
The challenges we face on a daily basis is that the mind if it is not controlled will spend the majority of its time feeding the black wolf with as much as an estimated 99% of thoughts being useless or distracting people from focusing on the task at hand.
In order to take back control of our minds and build on the 1% of positive daily focus then we need to become a mindful warrior and employ these proven negative thought busting strategies:
- Develop a morning practice or set of rituals that set your day up in the right way, waking up and looking at your iPhone or switching on the news will only fill your mind with useless clutter. Starting your day in nature, out in your backyard counts or by going for a walk, visiting a yoga class are all ways to reduce clutter and focuses the mind on the present.
- Mindfulness is one way that I find affective in changing my focus, particularly on the days my stress levels are building, this is normally when I am negotiating Sydney’s roads. I pull over at a park and get out of the car and take a short slow walk. I focus my attention on the trees, flowers and landscape and look for the beauty in these surroundings and within minutes my breathing slows, heart rate lowers and I feel peaceful.
- Observe your thinking patterns and strengthen your ability to be able to catch the destructive thoughts. This isn’t easy however not impossible, like anything that’s worth its weight, it takes practice and focus to build this power of observation.
- Listen to the inner dialogue and pay attention to what you are telling yourself. If the dialogues are non constructive which invariably they are then choose to change it by changing the story.
- Understand the signals that your body sends you when it is out of alignment, aches, pains, muscles stiffness and tightness are all signs that the body is feeling stressed and needs nurturing. Dehydration for example will create many symptoms that lead to us feeling less than our best. Ignore these signals for long enough and enevitable a more serious chronic condition will follow.
- Connect with a mentor or person that can hold you completely accountable, this person needs to 100% honest with you. Sharing your challenges and aspirations for your future with a person that will pull you up on your BS and offer words of encouragement during the dark times, will set you up on the path of success.
- Introduce one strategy at a time and stick to it, most people it has to be said dont give enough time to bedding down a new strategy. Our society has become one that places high expectations on gaining instant gratification. statistically the time frame needed in order to witness real change, is a minimum of 30 days. In the scheme of things, this isn’t a lot of time compared to the possibility of a lifetime of suffering caused by damaging thought cycles.
- Reduce exposure to toxicity through improving diet, environment and association, as mentioned in Part 2 of our series there are many factors that influence the minds association with negativity. The well-known experiments by Dr Emoto with frozen water crystals and the impact that certain environmental factors have on changing the molecules from one of visually pleasing to extremely unpleasant. Food, places and people can hugely influence our thought cycles, there is plenty of research on these topics that supports these claims.
About the blogger, Dean Quirke is an Educator, Coach and Youth Activist, The Founder of Young Men’sGroup and creator of ‘The Ultimate Work Experience, White Ribbon Ambassador and Speaker.
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