How you can paint a more beautiful reality.
Often, we take our thinking for granted using it as a GPS of sorts to direct us through life. We know it comes in handy to hold things away in our memory so that we can remember items we want to pick up at the store, answers we need to pass a test, or how to find our way home from grandma’s house. Most of the time, however, our thoughts just chatter away throughout our day. Sometimes the chatter is almost like background noise, like a favorite radio station to which we are half-way listening. Other times the volume of our thinking goes up to a level that is more like a blaring radio tuned to a station we don’t like, and one that we can’t figure out how to turn down. Those thoughts are often intrusive, unpleasant and not very helpful.
Thoughts have power. Most people are aware that thoughts can be stressful, and they understand how unhealthy stress can be on the body by sometimes leading to high blood pressure, strokes or heart attack. Life gets crazy sometimes, so what can we do to prevent stressful thinking?
It helps to understand the power of thought. I was fascinated many years ago when I studied hypnosis as a part of my mental health counseling program. My instructor showed a video filmed while she underwent major surgery with no anesthesia. She talked to her surgeon throughout the process, as she controlled both her pain and bleeding, while in a self-induced hypnotic trance. During another of our classes, she put a volunteer into a hypnotic trance, used a hypodermic needle to take an in-and-out stitch on the top of his hand, removed the needle, and then told him to allow the hole on the right to bleed, and to stop the bleeding from the left. He did. She then instructed him to let the left side flow, and to halt the bleeding from the right. He did that as well.
Many people are mystified and curious about hypnosis and the “magic” that appears to happen. It isn’t magic at all, it’s thought. It is extremely focused thought, with the individual in the hypnotic trance instructing their body to do certain things, and so it does. The hypnotized person is not under the “power” of the hypnotist; they are merely following suggestions that they are willing to support. Individuals in a hypnotic trance will not do anything they consider illegal or immoral – their ability to know and reason is still intact.
Our ability to be at peace is always with us; only our thinking gets in the way.
Another example of the power of thought is biofeedback, a process that has been used by the medical community for decades. With biofeedback, a person is connected to a computer and can self-monitor certain body processes such as blood pressure or body temperature. Using thought they intentionally lower or raise their blood pressure or body temperature as they observe it on a monitor. That isn’t magic either, just another way our thoughts can be used to help us.
Biofeedback has evolved into a more sophisticated process called neurofeedback that now helps people to change brain pathways and positively modify behavior. Many people report decreased anxiety, increased attentiveness, and improved sleep, among other things, after sessions with neurofeedback. Neurofeedback uses your thoughts for these improvements. Science – no magic.
Hypnosis, biofeedback, and neurofeedback are great tools, however we can improve our thinking and our lives without using any of them. We do that by understanding that we are the thinker of our thoughts, or as Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor (i.e., 161–180), stated, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”.
Jumping forward from Marcus Aurelius, a few thousand years, Jamie Smart, in The Little Book of Clarity says, “When we’re locked in a mind-made prison of habitual thoughts, it seems ludicrous to think that freedom could be so nearby. At least, until you realize who has the key. . .”
We use that key, and exercise the freedom to find our natural peace of mind by knowing that we don’t have to always take our thoughts so seriously. Just because our society promotes worry and upset as adult ways of coping with life, we don’t have to buy into that; we have options.
Learning when to trust our thinking, and when to let it go, we begin to live more peaceful lives. Worry and upset never brings solutions to difficult situations. We are much more likely to access our wisdom and abilities when we are at peace. When natural insight occurs, solutions are visible that we were never able to see before.
How do you get from a place of worry and stress to a more peaceful moment when insight is possible? It begins by bringing yourself back to the present moment, the here and now. At this moment in time, is there anything you can do about the situation? If there is, do it! Then move on. If you can do nothing, why waste this moment worrying about it?
Many times, something from the past causes stress and unhappiness. The past cannot be changed, and watching the instant replay via your thinking, of something that occurred in the past, whether a week ago or twenty years ago, can cause you to feel the pain and hurt over and over again! It’s not helpful, so why put yourself through it? As the thinker, you have a choice. You can’t stop thoughts from popping into your head, and you have the option of watching the whole rerun episode again or choosing to point your thoughts in another direction by calling a friend, going for a walk or whatever it takes to distract yourself.
Garrett Kramer, in his book “Stillpower,” which is focused on athletic performance says, “Most of us, unfortunately, do not permit our negative thoughts to settle. We fail to realize that it is always unproductive to wage war with our thinking to elevate performance levels or states of mind. In truth, fearing or trying to deal with negative thoughts only gives them more power.”
Our ability to be at peace is always with us; only our thinking gets in the way. Recognizing how powerful thoughts are, whether being used with hypnosis to stop bleeding or with neurofeedback to improve sleep patterns, is amazing. It is equally amazing to realize that power is always available to us once we are aware of it. As my favorite theosopher, Sydney Banks wrote in The Missing Link, “Your thoughts are like the artist’s brush. They create a personal picture of the reality you live in”.
I hope you create beautiful pictures for your reality.
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