"The mind is a world unto itself. It can create a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven." - Buddha
To create the life you aspire too, you have to win the war of the mind. This is no small feat. I have days of peace and serenity, and other ones where it is a battle royal with my primitive brain.
In my efforts to help others heal and achieve their dreams, it all comes down to taking control of their mind. This goal cannot be achieved solely from the top down, but must begin from the bottom up. What I mean, is it cannot start with changing your thinking but with taking control of the energy in your body. Your body is your subconscious brain.
The body desires comfort and is resistant to change
If your body is in charge, it will find a million excuses to sabotage your long-term goals. It loves the status quo and does not like to be uncomfortable. You can have the best laid plan or strategy, but the deeper more primitive parts of your brain will derail you every time.
Nowhere has this been more evident than in my work with those struggling with various addictions. My clients can be highly motivated and have goals of the utmost importance, such as getting their children back, saving their marriage or career, or their health. Despite the enormity of the consequences, their brain will hit the accelerator and destroy everything that matters most in their life.
This is all the result of the body being in charge. Now you may not be addicted to substances but I know your body takes over in other ways: binge-eating; procrastination; pornography; compulsive spending; workaholism, etc. All of these behaviors get in the way of creating the life you aspire to have.
Reclaiming control begins with mindfulness
To begin to take control back from your body and take the necessary steps to build a meaningful and fulfilling life will require something your body hates to do - sit still. There is no way around this. You have to begin engaging in some form of mindfulness. The amount of excuses and resistance I get to this is astounding. I could use the whole post to list them.
If you want your mind to start taking control of your life, you HAVE to do this. The fact that you get so much opposition from your body is an indicator how much it is in charge. You have to get past the standard excuses your body will give, "I can't meditate," "I can't stop my mind," "I have kids." These are all tricks of the body.
You have to develop the ability to become present
I tell you this with all compassion, if you cannot take five minutes a day to participate in a mindful meditation, you will never attain the life you want. You have to develop the capacity to stop, notice what is happening internally and in your body, tolerate these sensations, and begin to use this energy and information to create a life of meaning and fulfillment.
This energy, which we call emotions, is the number one resource for living the life of your dreams. The majority of people are so cut off from full awareness of the information it provides. Furthermore, we are not given the skills to know how to use this energy to its maximum potential. People ask me all the time for tools. Emotions are the tool.
The key to mastering your emotions
I am giving you the first step in gaining mastery over your emotions. Take five minutes today to stop and just track and notice what is happening internally and in your body. Don't judge anything as important or unimportant. For some reason, most people have difficulty grasping the simplicity of what I am advocating. Here's an example: right now the back of my neck is itching as I'm writing this. Now the top of my head is as well. That's it. It's that basic.
"How is that going to change my life or help me create the life of my dreams," you may ask. In and of itself, it won't. But you have to learn the letters of the alphabet before you can put words and sentences together. Be patient and hang with me on this. I promise the payoff is immense.
Make the commitment and start small
Commit to doing this daily. If you struggle and things get in your way, list out the excuses your mind gives or the obstacles that arise. Then, develop a strategy for overcoming them one by one. The number one resource we possess for creating the life of our dreams are our core emotions. Trust me on this. When you become adept at using your core emotions, it will change your entire life.
Start small. Stay consistent. Stay committed. Believe you are capable of creating a life worth living. Take five minutes right now as you are finished reading this post and practice a mindfulness meditation. Research shows that fifteen minutes a day for a minimum of eight weeks actually makes structural changes in the brain. When you create neuroplasticity in the brain, real change occurs. Let me know how it went. I am always available for feedback and guidance.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.