I came across this blog post and just had to copy it. I love when I’m thinking about writing something and someone else has already done it probably better than I could have. (Saves me so much time!) This was one of those posts that someone else wrote better than I could have. Her tips in here about how to view other people and deciding to see things differently has completely changed my life. Try it for a week and see if it changes yours too. What do you have to lose? Please share your thoughts after reading. 🙂
The Art of Self Control
I’m guessing that you think this post is going to help you to only drop your pants when it’s appropriate—like at the gynecologist’s office.
But this post isn’t really about that kind of self-control at all.
In this post, I’m talking about self-control of the mind. As we grow up and attend one school after another, we learn a lot of stuff. Yet no one teaches us how to harness the mind and get it to focus on and think about what we want it to think about.
And that’s a shame. We’d all be better off if we could learn these techniques earlier in life. I know I would have been better off. That’s for sure.
You see: you have control over your thoughts and your beliefs, and by controlling those two things you can control a heck of a lot of other things. Once you realize this, it’s quite powerful. You will feel as if you’ve suddenly developed a super power.
Crazy Stuff That Really is Within Your Control
Here are some thoughts and beliefs that you may not realize you have control over:
- Whether you are attracted to your spouse
- Whether you think your spouse is “good for nothing” “a saint” or somewhere in between
- Whether you think monogamy is worth it and something that you will continue to take part in
- Whether you will let go of the past
- Whether you believe in your future
- Whether you believe marriage improvement is worth it
I could go on. Really, if it starts with a thought or a belief, you can control it. It just takes practice.
I Was a Skeptic, Too
Many months back, when my Buddhism teacher told me that everything in the world was just a mere projection of my mind, I was like, “I think I’m going to need to smoke a big fat honking doobie before I can wrap my mind around that one.”
(Note to the FBI and to any future employers: I do not smoke doobies. I just like to joke about smoking them because I love the word “doobie.”)
For days and weeks I thought about what she said. My thoughts went back and forth like this:
The world isn’t real? You mean it’s like The Matrix? It’s like, as Morpheus said, “Your mind makes it real.” Really?! No. She must be on crack.
The world is real. This is real. This is SO real. I don’t know about her world, but my world is real, real, real!
What if it isn’t real? What if I just think it’s real?
I wake up from a dream. I never wake up from real life. It’s real.
Are you sure about that? What if you just haven’t woken up yet? What if we wake up when we die?
I could go on. But what you need to know is this: at some point I just decided to believe in the idea that the world was a projection of my mind. At first, I only was going to believe it for a little while. I decided to believe it as a test of the concept. I would see if I could get my mind to project any reality I told it to project.
So this is what I decided to believe:
1. My husband was a good and loving person who deserved all of my love. I decided to believe this even when I was mad at him.
2. People who usually annoyed me were really good and loving people who were not annoying and who deserved my love. My mind just could not see this because my mind was projecting the wrong reality.
You want to know what? My life was transformed. Suddenly all of my relationships got easier.
Now let me bring my inner skeptic back into the picture here because, chances are, your inner skeptic is in the room, too.
Did my mind really create my own reality? Or did my mind allow me to create my own reality? In other words, by believing that all people are good and loving, did I start treating people differently—causing them to respond to me in good and loving ways?
My inner skeptic says that’s probably what happened. At any rate, it still worked, and it can work for you, too.
How to Get in Control
Now, this takes meditation. And unlike yesterday’s post, it takes a real, focused eyes closed sitting down kind of meditation.
It’s not for sissies, but it’s worth it.
What you want to do is train your mind to focus on what you tell it to focus on. You’ll start by training your mind to focus on really boring mundane everyday things like:
- Your breath. Sit with your eyes closed. Focus all of your attention on the sensation of air as it enters and leaves your nostrils.
- Your body. Focus all of your attention of how your body feels, starting at your head and moving down to your feet.
- Your heart beat. Focus on the sensation and/or sound of it beating. Note: If you can’t hear or feel your heart beat, it’s because all of the chatter in your mind is drowning out the sound. Once you quiet down your mind—and possibly your surroundings—you’ll be able to feel and hear it.
Start with one of those. Your mind is going to act like a rowdy little kid and it’s going to pull away from the object of your attention. It’s going to attempt to write your grocery list, pack your suit case, write your next blog post, worry about what’s not going right in your life, remember what it doesn’t want to forget, have conversations with people who are not really there, think about how your butt hurts, wonder why you are making it do this and all sorts of things.
Don’t get frustrated when this happens. That’s why you are practicing. Think of your mind as a muscle and meditation as the exercise that strengthens that muscle.
Over time, as you get better at focusing your mind, try to focus it on beliefs that you wish to change. For instance, many of us tend to sort the people in our lives into one of two categories: good people and nasty rotten good-for-nothing people. Many of us also do this with our spouses. Sometimes – when we’re happy and things are going our way – our spouses are the product of a fairy tale. Other times, when we are unhappy and things are not going our way, our spouses become Mr. or Mrs. Ex (ie a future ex-husband or ex-wife).
In reality: most people have a little good and a little bad, and most spouses are great some of the time and screw ups some other times. Right? It’s not so black and white.
But our minds want it to be.
So make a choice. How do you want to see your spouse? What do you want to believe about your spouse? Then choose to believe it.
For instance, the first time I did this, I sat down, closed my eyes, brought the image of my husband to mind, and I saw him as a lovable person who deserved my love. I sat with that image until I could feel myself loving him. I sat with his image until I could hear my mind say, “I love you. I really love you. I am so happy you are in my life.”
I did this over and over and over again.
You know what? I can’t keep my hands off him these days. He’s chocolate to me. I can’t stop telling him how wonderful he is.
Because he is wonderful.
I changed my reality. You probably can, too.
I say probably because there’s a caveat here. I don’t think this technique works like magic. I don’t think that you can sit down and envision your spouse as someone who is monogamous and – poof! – your spouse will stop cheating on you.
No. You can’t control your spouse with your mind. You can only control your mind. There’s a subtle difference there, but one that is quite important. Here are some things you might decide to try to mind-control:
- If you are frustrated by or struggling with monogamy: I patiently accept monogamy. I will focus my attraction and sexual energies on my spouse. I love my spouse. My spouse is worth me patiently accepting this.
- If you are struggling to feel an attraction for your spouse: I love my spouse. I want to adore my spouse. Other people are attracted to my spouse. I am attracted to my spouse. My spouse is sexy.
- If you are fixating on your spouse’s faults: My spouse is a good and loving person. My spouse is amazing at _____________. I married an amazing person.
Note: It’s important to really see and feel these words as you meditate on them. You are not feeding your mind a subliminal message. No, you are practicing being in love. You are practicing feeling an attraction. You are practicing feeling patient and at peace. The more you practice, the more these beliefs, thoughts and feelings will grow. And soon you will realize that you’ve created your own reality.