Part 2: How to Spring Clean your Mind
Have you listened to your mind lately? If you’re like most people it’s noisy in there. My inner commentators are like a cross between Australian horse race caller Johnny Tapp and self deprecating Aussie comedian Judith Lucy – a fast paced excitingly manic life script which could drive anyone to drink.
Fortunately, somewhere along the lines I stumbled across Mindful Awareness and started to corral my loud lunatics into some semblance of order. At the very least, when I just relax and don’t give them my precious attention they tend to quiet down. Here’s how to spring clean your mind by yourself through mind body therapy.
Take 5 minutes today to practice observing your thoughts. Sit comfortably and just watch them as though they were a slide show passing in front of you. Have no judgement. Just watch, or listen if you’re not visual. Don’t worry if you get sucked into your thoughts, that’s normal. If this happens, just come back to observing whenever you can. For the rest of the day, observe your thoughts in this way. You will start to notice patterns and repetitive thoughts such as worrying about the past or future and judging yourself or others. You may want to write some notes in a journal. Becoming aware of your thought patterns is hugely powerful.
The best way to clear your mind is to focus it exclusively on one thing. When athletes sharply focus on the sport they are doing, they are “in the zone.” The zone is 100% presence. One of the simplest ways to get in the zone is to practice focusing on your body. Many people start with observing their breath. I’ve created a 10 minute mindful awareness practice called a body scan in which you will focus intensley on your body. Click here to do this scan. Practice focusing your mind every day even just for a few minutes. You can use your breath, your body, a new sport, or any activity which takes 100% focus. Over time you will begin to reside more often in the heightened feeling of the zone.
Now that you’ve observed what’s going on in your mind, you’re training it to focus on the present when you want it to (don’t worry, nobody is or should be present 100% of the time). What kinds of thoughts would you like to cultivate? If your old thoughts of worry, guilt and inadequacy made you feel anxious or depressed, what would you prefer to feel instead? Thoughts and feelings go hand in hand, so cultivating a feeling by thinking particular thoughts is a powerful way to change your inner landscape. Gratitude and compassion are some of the highest thought forms you can cultivate. The Institute of Heartmath has some beautiful tools to help you, so here’s an article which will explain how to do this.
Take the time to train and strengthen your mind. Your inner world creates your outer experience of life – from how your body feels to the types of people and situations you attract – there’s nothing more useful you can do with your time. Remember, small consistent effort over time = major shifts in ways of thinking and being.
See you next week when you’ll have heaps of fun learning how to hear, clear and nurture your soul. Oh and don’t get too hung up on the word soul – just think of it as that pure little self you were as a kid before life became so serious.
Happy weeding and planting,