Archive for Mind Control

Is your mind racing?

Is your mind racing, planning, worrying, relentlessly reviewing the past or agitating over the future? This is a useless waste of energy and a misuse of the mind. (see my blog post of July 25/10, How To Take Control of Your Mind).

It’s important to ask yourself why your mind is racing. Why does your frantically busy mind think it’s important to keep you in an agitated state? What’s it keeping your from paying attention to? What would you be thinking about if your mind weren’t racing? What’s the real problem here?

Ask yourself: If I weren’t worrying about all that, what would I be thinking about?

Often the racing mind is just a cover up for the real problem. To get at the real stuff, we have to quiet the buzz and the static of the racing mind. We need to get quiet and ask ourselves what we’re really upset about.

Most often it isn’t about the seemingly endless list of chores to be done. Rather it’s about the relationship we’re in or the disappointment we’re experiencing in our own lives. Sometimes memories are trying to surface in our consciousness: memories that the mind doesn’t want us to know about.

All the worrying in the world about the past, the future or the jobs to be done, won’t address the real problem, whatever it is.

Recognize the racing mind for what it is. A distraction. A red herring meant to keep us from dealing with what really matters.

Do you have experience with a racing mind? Perhaps you’d leave a comment below to help others. I promise to reply to your comment.

Old messages that hold us back

We all carry old messages, sometimes called implicit memories, from our early life. They’re messages we picked up from the world we were born into. They’re so much a part of us we barely know they exist.

What are your old messages? Maybe you learned:
-that you weren’t lovable
-that you weren’t smart enough
-that the world was a really scary place
-that you had to build a wall around yourself to be safe

Whatever your message, it’s probably not true in your present day world. It’s important to take a good hard look at these old tapes. They can be self-fulfilling.

-If you’re convinced you’re stupid, you likely avoid trying to get more education or a better job.

-If you consider yourself unlovable, maybe you don’t let people get to know you. Maybe you keep others at a distance so they won’t see how defective you are.

-If you think the world is such a scary place, you probably don’t take advantage of opportunities that come your way.

-Ask yourself if you really need to stay so hidden from others.

Once we identify our old messages, we need to take a good hard look at our current reality. What is the evidence for my stupidity? Are there signs that I’m not so stupid, like a graduation certificate? Or a good evaluation at work?

I’m unlovable? Is there somebody who loves me in spite of my faults?

When was the last time I was actually threatened by the world?

Are the people in my current world really dangerous to me?

It’s really important to learn what your old messages are and begin to change them.

Is "The Critic" Running Your Life?

The Critic is that inner voice or feeling that tells you you’re no good, just lazy or somehow defective. Everybody has one and every psychological system recognizes it. Focusing calls this destructive super ego talk The Critic.

Where does it come from? In childhood, we internalized the way we perceived the voices of our authority figures, usually our parents and teachers. Now these voices are no longer outside. They’re in our heads.

Does it have any value? Probably your Critic just wants you to be a successful human being. But it goes about it the wrong way – like those parents you hear screaming at their little kid to shape up. Their intention is all right. The way they go about it is damaging.

The Critic has no value. It’s not your conscience. It’s not what keeps you on the straight and narrow. (It may take a while to convince yourself of this.)

How should I deal with it? Don’t engage with it. You’re sure to lose! Here are the steps.

1) Recognize it. We become so accustomed to this disparaging voice that we don’t even notice it. How to recognize the Critic? It speaks in a shrill, harsh tone. You’ve been feeling fine and suddenly you feel lousy. (Your conscience speaks in a still, small voice. It might give the same underlying message, but your conscience speaks softly and puts it in a way that won’t undermine you.)

2) Tell it in no uncertain terms to get lost. Treat it the same way you would (hopefully) deal with a person in real life who was following you around, making you feel terrible about yourself.

3) Practice this until you can be the winner in the fight for your peace of mind. Remember that the Critic’s mission is to keep you from being all that you really are.

You’ll never be rid of it entirely, but it’s your job to cut it down to size.

How to take control of your mind

Have you ever paid attention to all the chatter that goes on in your head? Do you believe that valuable thoughts and ideas fill your mental space all day long?

Care to find out what’s really happening in your mind all day long? Chances are you spend a lot of energy mumbling to yourself and agitating over what’s already happened or might happen in the future.

Here’s an exercise designed to help you get to know your mind. I learned it from my spiritual teacher, Swami Sivananda Radha when I told her I considered my thoughts too important to set aside so that I could keep repeating my mantra all day. She challenged me to get to know my mind on a more personal basis. Maybe it wasn’t as productive as I thought, she said. Here’s the exercise she gave me:

1) Sit in a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. Have paper and pen nearby, but not on your lap.
2) With eyes closed or open, observe your train of thought for ten minutes. Just let your mind go wherever it wants.
3) At the end of the ten minutes, write down all the thoughts you’ve had.

What are your conclusions? Are you really thinking profound thoughts? Or are you just producing boring and repetitive ruminations that raise your blood pressure and make you anxious? Is there anything of value going on in your idling mind? Would you be willing to exchange it for peace and quiet?

Try the exercise and let me know what you discover. Please leave a comment in the space below.