Our ability to make friends with our mind influences our vitality, health and wellbeing. The psyche is designed to offer a constant stream of thoughts. The thoughts flow in and out without ceasing. However, the mind does not always speak the truth. Our brain naturally defaults to negative thinking. This is how we are programmed for survival. When we understand this, we can begin to question the motivation behind the thoughts. Much of our suffering is created when we allow our thoughts to define us, accepting and believing our thoughts without question. If we can develop a sense of awareness of the mind, we recognise that we are not our thoughts. This powerful step creates space to witness our thoughts with discernment. Then we can begin to distinguish fact from fiction. By asking ourselves if a thought is really true, we can start to change old patterns of thinking.
Our thoughts are formed by many factors like our emotions and feelings and influenced by what we feed our mind. We may think we are switching off and relaxing by binge watching episodes of a show to zone out. However, we move into a trance like state when watching TV, screens or gaming. In this state, we are very receptive and open to all the information we are receiving and to all the marketing offered. All this information shapes our thoughts. It is critical that we consider the content of what we consume as it can pollute our minds and diminish our creativity.
The thoughts are energetic fluctuations of feelings and emotions. Awareness allows us to see that we are not the feeling or emotion but the witness to it. All emotions and feelings want to be seen. When we bring awareness to our thoughts, we bear witness to them. We acknowledge them, accept them, and allow ourselves to fully experience them. Awareness can help us to understand why a thought, feeling or emotion has arisen. Then we may be able to release it by expressing it constructively. When it is released there is space for new thoughts and ideas to come in.
We need to notice our thoughts, feel our feelings, experience them, accept them and then release them. Awareness of this ongoing process can facilitate healing on all levels of our being (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). When we are unable to release thoughts or emotions we hold them inside the body. This causes physical sensations like tension and tightness which can block the flow of energy in the body. When the energy cannot get to where it needs to go there will be an impact on our health and vitality. When we deny our thoughts and feelings, either by bypassing them or refusing to bear witness, in an attempt to feel positive all the time, we are being inauthentic. What we hold onto and bury deep inside us persists within us causing deep pain until we learn to let go.
By shining a light of awareness on our mind, we come to understand the temporal nature of our thoughts, emotions and feelings. We see that our thoughts are not permanent. We recognise that there is both light and shadow parts within us which are constantly changing and transforming.
Our thoughts influence our reality and what we attract into our lives. Therefore, the quality of our thoughts is an important consideration for our wellbeing. We are co-creators with the universe and what we think we become. Awareness allows us to identify patterns of thinking, when we expand our consciousness through awareness, we come to see that although we may not be able to change experiences we can shift our perspective and our thinking to consider what lessons can be learned from all of our experiences.
When we are more discerning we start to recognise the difference between the thoughts and the voice of intuition. Unlike our mind, intuition always speaks the language of truth. It is the voice we can rely on. Awareness gives us discrimination to move beyond the mind and connect with our inner guide. So how can we enhance our awareness?
Working gently with practices of contemplation, reflection or meditation is a good place to start. Slowing down to find stillness to connect to the present moment. Often the mind is constructing thoughts based on fears and worries in the future or the past. However, life is lived in the present moment. When we live in the present moment we can become more grounded and centred and more connected to those around us. Our fears and worries can diminish as we come to see all is well in the right here, right now.
The breath is one portal that can brings us into the present moment. Conscious breathing is an invitation to the mind to slow down. When we offer the mind the simple task of watching the breath the mind has an anchor to settle and become quieter. We do not stop the thoughts rather we simply create the conditions to notice space between thoughts. In this space we witness the thoughts as they pass in and out of the screen of the mind. This simple practice of watching the breath offers a profound shift in our consciousness. As awareness develops, we become more relaxed and we may notice our perspective becomes more expansive. Overtime we can experience a sense of peace, calm and more equanimity or balance in our being.
Meditation practices may not suit everyone. If we have experienced trauma it may feel more appropriate to connect to the present moment through body work. By noticing physical sensations in the body and developing a sense of embodiment we may be able to lean into the present moment.
In the present moment, we explore our thoughts more neutrally. By simply being aware, we begin the process of acknowledging, accepting and releasing what no longer serves us.
Physical movement can initiate a release of thoughts and let go of what is weighing us down. Intuitive somatic experiences like walking, dance or yoga offer a release through the physical body. Breath-work is another important way to release through the energetic body and can be very transformative. The exhale is a chance to let go of old thoughts to making space for the new ideas. Creative expression is a further important way to release and let go through the creative process.
Cultivating awareness and finding releasing practices allows disharmony to move through us and be transmuted. We can draw on these practices to shift our mood and our perspective throughout the day. We can choose to respond and react with awareness. In this witness state, we can meet our own wounds and those of others with kindness and compassion. Awareness opens us up for true healing and growth. When we befriend our thoughts, we begin to use the mind to transform our discomfort and fears into something useful and purposeful.