Oh, the wonders of the mind. It’s a powerful but complex tool. Does your mind work FOR or AGAINST you? Are you able to direct your thinking, enable free and creative thinking, or does your mind seem to run the show?
In my previous article Learning Your Intuition For Guidance, I discussed the differences between listening to your gut feeling (intuition) compared to that of your mind. It’s now time to break down the elements of the mind.
The Mind from East and West
The emergence of neuroscience is one of the most exciting and fascinating scientific fields. Traditionally, neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. As more and more was discovered about the nervous system, neuroscience became an interdisciplinary field working with the mind and body connection. The brain and the nervous system was clearly not just affecting our physiology and structure, it also interacted with behaviour, emotions, psychology, our environment—the list goes on.
From another perspective, Eastern Medicine was founded in a holistic approach to health and wellness; understanding the deep connection between the mind and body. What makes up who we are includes; body, mind, Spirit, consciousness, emotions, energy systems and the environment; all components of the great web that is life.
When it comes to working with the mind, complementary medicine (the synergy of Eastern and Western medicine) offers much in the way of tools and techniques that help you make the most of your mind! Given the plethora of avenues for discussing the mind, I’m going to start simply but powerfully.
Where to start?
Ironically, when I sat down to write this article my mind jumped from idea to idea. At first, I couldn’t latch onto one particular aspect of the mind to write about. I was exhausted from the process! Until I realised, the very problem I was having was the topic for discussion—DIRECTION!
Your mind will spend as long as you let it running around in circles, or from corner to corner, or stuck in negativity or worry. A key starting point is creating healthy habits with your thinking. What we do know about the science of the mind and the energy behind it is that our thinking is based in patterns and therefore habits.
Bridging knowledge to empower your mind
Let’s take two famous phrases from both science and complementary medicine and see how they work together, supporting the same concept when it comes to the mind:
Firstly, ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’ (neuropsychologist Donald Hebb,1949). Meaning that everything you do be it thoughts, emotions or physical action creates a neural network. Neurons are the building blocks for your nervous system that transmit electrical and chemical information. These networks are strengthened by how much you use them.
Secondly, ‘Energy flows where attention goes’ (‘Makia’ from the 7 Huna Principles of Life, a shared wisdom across many ancient healing traditions). Put simply, if you focus on negative outcomes for your life and the negative story, then your energy system will follow and you’ll feel depleted and often unable to create the life that is waiting for you.
Combining these great insights gives us a clear message about the mind. You have a choice and the best place to start is directing your mind toward what it is that you truly want to spend your days doing, feeling and thinking. I’m not saying “it’s easy – just stop how you’re thinking”, I’m saying let’s spend time training our mind to work in our favour. Understand you have the ability to use your mind to work FOR you!
Repeat after me…
You can start with simple mantras or affirmations to wake up and to fall asleep with. For example, if you think “I’m not good enough” then this is what your neural network will wire together and your energy system will flow toward. So, start by wiring and flowing with “I am good enough” or simply “I am enough”. Get creative and think about words and phrases that resonate with you and your current goals. Be sure to put the phrase into positive and active tones as if they’re already a reality.
Another practice that’s gaining much momentum and research is the art of gratitude, or giving thanks. At the end of each day, list three things that you’re grateful for. Some days can be rough and you might be grateful that you got out the door, or for the sun shining! As much as possible, make gratitude personal and push yourself to reflect. Make this a family tradition at dinner time as it opens the door for teaching, sharing, learning and listening.
Remember, your thoughts affect your body and your emotions. Grateful thoughts and encouraging phrases feel good. Critical and worried thoughts are draining. The more you direct your thinking, the more you create a joyful reality. I’ll leave you with the magnificent images from the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto who studied and photographed the molecular changes in water when different prayers, music or words were played, written or said Water, Consciousness & Intent.