“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think”
Growing up, I never really grasped the concept or power of ‘positive thinking’ and conditioning myself to have a ‘positive mindset’. So many times, as I was faced with the normal daily ups and downs of life, others would encourage me to ‘look on the bright side’, ‘think positive’, ‘don’t think about the negative’ and sometimes, this was frustrating to hear. When you are struggling with your thoughts or a difficult experience or situation, it is very difficult to be able to ‘find’ or ‘see’ the positives and not to get caught up in the negatives.
It was only when I adopted a mindful and present approach to my daily living that it became abundantly clear that what you put into your mind, you get out, what you sow, you reap, what you think, you become. This mindset took some time to cultivate, as we are not naturally programmed to just wake up one day and be completely positive about everything in our lives. Re-programming your mind and body to notice the positive and negative in your present moment living, to pay attention to whatever your experience is and by ‘purposely’ choosing to find the positives in any situation or experience and not get pulled down into the negatives takes time, commitment and practise.
But we can do this and I personally feel that it is worth making this investment into yourself and in becoming more positive in your general, daily mindset, as when you achieve this, the sky’s the limit! But the magical thing is, when you do achieve this, you will feel so content, so present, so aware of all of the natural beauty internally and externally in your own life, you won’t feel like you need to soar through the clouds. You will feel more competent and comfortable to have the skills and mindset to live through the clouds of your everyday life.
An empowering quote I absolutely love is one by Pema Chödrön, who is a Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother. She has inspired millions of people around the world to practice peace in turbulent times. The quote goes:
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather”.
I find this concept so empowering and use it often in my daily living and my teachings. We can condition ourselves to imagine that our minds are like the ‘bright blue sky’ and that our thoughts are just like ‘clouds’ passing by in the sky. When you think about a bright blue sky, you may automatically think of clearness, calmness, vast space, never ending. We can learn to think of our minds as being like this, even on the dullest, hardest, overwhelming and overpowering days that we all experience. We can learn to see our thoughts as ‘thought clouds’, that will come into our ‘bright blue sky’, our minds, and that will pass over if we allow them to. If we choose to or find ourselves getting caught up in whatever ‘thought cloud’ is passing over in our ‘bright blue sky’, we can get stuck in the thought cloud. When this happens, we start to feel the emotional and physical sensations that accompany this ‘thought cloud’ in our body. So, if we get stuck in an ‘anxious or fearful’ thought cloud, we may start to experience panic and worry in our body. We may feel an increased heartrate, quickened breathing, dizziness, sweating and perhaps more.
When we adopt this viewpoint and understanding in our lives that ‘we are so much more than our thoughts, we are so much bigger than them, we don’t have to believe them,’ just like the bright blue sky is so much bigger than any clouds can ever be, we then learn to become observers of our thoughts and minds and we learn the skill of just letting each ‘thought cloud’ pass over, without experiencing the physical sensations of it in our body. When we implement this approach and concept into our own daily living, it really does help us to see the calmness and serenity that we can experience, even when our own internal weather is a bit turbulent. It can help us to see that:
“… what you think, you become, what you feel, you attract, what you imagine, you create”.
This mindset can help us to identify the most important priorities for us individually in our own lives. It can enable us to focus on the qualities and experiences that we wish to manifest in our lives. Another quote to leave you with, from Jack Kornfield, Buddhist practitioner and bestselling American author is:
“In the end, just three things matter: How well you lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go”.
HOW to help your ‘Thoughts’ pass over like ‘Clouds’:
The following is a step by step guide on how to help ‘Thoughts’ pass over like ‘Clouds’:
2. When you feel your mind becoming distracted and starting to wander and get caught in thinking, affirm to yourself that ‘thought clouds’ are now entering your ‘bright blue sky’ and that this is ok, they will pass over.
3. Try to just notice and watch each ‘thought cloud’ as it enters and leaves your ‘bright blue sky’ space. Acknowledge to yourself that you can see each thought cloud and that you are ready to just let it pass over.
4. If you feel yourself starting to experience any physical sensations of the ‘thought clouds’ in your body, gently assure yourself that you are now caught up in the ‘thought cloud’ and that you need to come back to being able to just see the ‘thought cloud’ passing by in your ‘bright blue sky’.
5. Take 3 slow, deep, regulating breaths to help you to emerge from the ‘thought cloud’ you are stuck in and to come back to just feeling the vastness and serenity of your ‘bright blue sky’ and to observing your ‘thought clouds’ as they pass over.
6. Affirm to yourself that you are like the ‘bright blue sky’ and that you are bigger than any of your ‘thought clouds’ can ever be.
Thank you so much to Deirdre Rusk for her amazing images! Check out more amazing images from Deirdre Rusk Photography at https://www.deirdrerusk.com/
Thank you as always to Brian O’Loughlin and his team at Celtic Media Group (https://www.anglocelt.ie/, https://www.con-telegraph.ie/, https://www.meathchronicle.ie/, https://www.offalyindependent.ie/, https://www.westmeathexaminer.ie/ and https://www.westmeathindependent.ie/ for all their wonderful help!
As published by The Celtic Media Group in The Anglo Celt, Connaught Telegraph, Meath Chronicle, Offaly Independent, Westmeath Examiner and Westmeath Independent newspapers w/c 14/12/2020)