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Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans – John Lennon
I’ve slightly changed this well-known phrase from John Lennon and I’ve extracted it from a profound feeling with which I cope every day.
What is reality? It is the sum of our perceptions in relation to external stimuli. We experience reality through our senses and emotions, though most of the time they’re all translated by the mind. The mind is the filter through which we see all the surrounding reality, all our life. What do we do when this filter takes up too much space and leaves too little room for reality to unravel, when the filter is too busy to self-analyze, and creating scenarios about the countless possible versions of the outer experience. Then, as you probably feel, we are lost in a sea of fears and mental scenarios and forget to live in the present moment, we forget to enjoy the beautiful moments and gifts from this lifetime and we worry, we consume energy, in regards to what might go wrong in future.
I don’t think there is any point to analyze the causes of this imbalance now, we have been identifying with the mind for thousands and thousands of years, nowadays this instrument occupies a position much more important than that for which it was initially created: to store information, manage natural vital reflexes, to give birth to new concepts that help us create and translate the impulses of our senses. But we now have this constant voice in our head which says its opinion about everything, it begins to create endless stories about the most insignificant of trivialities and takes up a great deal of attention and energy.
Fortunately, this is not true…
Even though spiritual philosophies teach that each of us has an individual reality and that we attract what we think into our lives, we’ve taken these ideas much too literally and have gotten to the point where we live more inside our mind than in real life. Fortunately, I don’t think we attract everything we think, we attract what we are. I wrote an article on this topic HERE.
We constantly try to control everything and we have developed a mechanism through which we want to think about all options, especially the negative ones, in order for them to not take us by surprise should they arise. But most of the time life is much more beautiful than we think – isn’t it a shame to live in fear of negativity, instead of enjoying the present moment? Instead of living? If we wake up in 40-50 years and think about our lives, will we be pleased that instead of living, instead of enjoying experiences and moments, we remained in a continuous mental anxiety regarding the past, present or future? I decided to stop this unhealthy mechanism, even though it will be quite difficult, but I rather be free, to not have that weight on my heart called fear.
If we receive a gift in our life, we are happy, but in the next moment, arises the fear of losing it. This is how the attachment and our desperation to control the future is born.
Just let go! Let things flow, have an intention, but then trust the Universe or any force you believe in. You cannot control many events in life, so what’s the point in stressing about it? A positive attitude and an openness towards life is most often all we need. How many wonderful things have happened without you expecting it? How many dreams have been fulfilled miraculously? Maintain an optimistic state, influenced by confidence and self-love and wait for the most beautiful events to unfold in your path. As for the sense of humor, it’s a real spiritual practice. When the mind goes “haywire” or gets lost in the negative thoughts, make a fool of it (pardon my expression). The more we are scared of what it “says”, the larger the dragon becomes. So by laughing at it we are no longer feeding it power, we are slowly taking away the energy with which we have been fueling it all this time. Most often you can say, “So what?” Sometimes it is useful to accept the possibility of a negative scenario so that we can no longer let ourselves be sabotaged by our own fears. But as Mark Twain used to say, more often than not, we are safe from those possibilities.
This is the practice that has helped me the most in my life, detaching from thoughts. Acknowledging the fact that I’m not what I think, I am not that voice from my mind. And neither are you. The good thing is that we can practice it constantly, every time a negative thought arises in our mind, or when that voice begins to create countless scenarios, we can detach, we can observe the voice, without identifying with it. We become observers, an objective witness to the cycle of our own mind. At first, it may be difficult, hardly naturally, but with time, through exercise, this detachment becomes more and more natural. This technique is called Mindfulness.
This way, we can “seize” the present moment. Even in this moment, stop reading for a bit and pay attention to this moment, to the place in which you are, to the surrounding sounds, smell, temperature, the state in which you are, open yourselves and receive the energy of the present moment into your life. Now is when it’s all happening. NOW. Try to cultivate this attention throughout the day, to stop for a couple of minutes and consciously observe the moment with all its features. Enjoy!
Everything I listed above can be applied to our everyday life through repetition. Any habit has an undoing. The habit of identifying with our mind and getting lost in the fears of the mind has an undoing. The cure is the repetition of a healthy way of thinking. Even if at first it seems strange, unreal, unnatural, with time, it will become our way of being. Neuroscience has demonstrated that thought – our brain – is malleable, it learns new ways to function and can implement new ways to react or to function throughout a lifetime. It is said that it takes 72 for a new habit to be integrated into our subconscious. So, every time you wake up in the same negative mental cycle, stop that train of thought and replace it with a positive scenario, with a beneficial attitude. At first, you will see that it will be quite strange, but with time it will become a new way in which our thinking reacts to certain impulses. For example, let’s say that I’m afraid of flying. Automatically, when I see a plane or find out that I will be traveling, my mind begins to operate an uninterrupted cycle of fear and horrific scenarios. But I will replace any negative thought with a positive one, with a logical and optimistic thinking. I will say “I am safe, airplanes are very safe and I will always be protected during flights. There are hundreds of thousands of daily flights and all arrive safely – if I want to travel, flying is an element that is part of this dream of my life, and so I will enjoy it”. Slowly, this way of thinking will enter into my subconscious and will minimize the fears and negative thoughts. We can apply this technique for anything. I recommend to “train” your own mind like this, this is how I got rid of so many childhood fears which made me live my life “with the handbrake on”. There are countless books on neural reprogramming, I talked about them in a past article.
I will say to you and to my own self, from my soul, that it isn’t worth to live in fear, with that constant desire to control everything that is happening around us. We have no way of controlling what other people are doing, but instead, we can control what we do and what we feel. Let’s feel good in our own bodies, lets’ feel that we deserve all that is most beautiful and relinquish to a magical path in this lifetime.