Calm Down!


8431429265_f779ef2065_bI remember a time when my wife and I were talking to some friends and she said something that sparked my happy meter and forever etched itself in my mind. She remarked, “Tony isn’t like me, he has a calm mind…” What a nice thing to say! And I have to admit my mind is generally very calm, despite the occasional times I’m like a duck on the water, appearing serene, but paddling like hell underneath. (smile) So, as you may have already guessed, this blog is about cultivating a calm mind.

Before I highlight some key principles, I think it’s important to understand why. Your mind is the center of your life. It’s not just part of your experience, it is your experience. It’s the largest determining factor in how your life progresses. And, as the central hub from which your life proceeds, it has to be in order. Imagine trying to run a business with a thousand random papers and files all over your desk. Picture your warehouse operation functioning properly with no system in place. Instead of success you would experience chaos which may be an apt description of many people’s lives.  Good things, great ideas, quiet, gentle guidance, self control, and the ability to problem solve all come from a calm mind.

An agitated, upset mind is like your mouth when you leave the dentist’s chair. You’re drooling and biting through your tongue; your face is sagging and you are completely unaware of it. Or said another way, all kinds of crap is happening to you; affecting you; harassing you, but you are too distracted to see what’s going on. It’s similar to trying to find your ring at the bottom of the pool while the water is agitated. You’ve got to wait until the agua settles down before you can see. Ya get it?

You’re not alone in your anxiety because the whole world is in turmoil. People suffer in silence because they think it’s normal. Some have never experienced peace. But, you should know that you were not designed to live that way. You were specifically designed with a mind so that you could direct your life. You’re not an animal with built-in instinctual behavior. You’re a human being who needs a calm mind. Interestingly, letting everything go; being perpetually distracted and overwhelmed, actually reduces your life to the level of the common beast. You sort of sniff around seeking to get your basic needs met with no thought about what you could really accomplish or experience if you got your base of operations in order.

Stop for a moment to consider how many thoughts go through your mind in a day. How many of them are negative, critical or fear inducing? If you are inexperienced in controlling your thinking (and yes you can control your thinking), I would wager many, if not most of your thoughts fall into this category. “You’re an idiot for forgetting that meeting.” “Look how fat you’ve gotten you big slob!” “Why don’t things ever work out for me?” “No-one gives a damn about me.” “My stomach hurts. I hope it’s not cancer.” You can multiply these thoughts out indefinitely. What runs through your mind isn’t the biggest issue. The crucible that separates calm from chaotic is what you do or don’t do about those thoughts. You can’t crap on yourself all day long then wonder why you feel anxious. And trust me, it is occurring even if you don’t recognize it. You don’t recognize it because you are distracted and if you add up enough distraction, you feel overwhelmed! Simplistic? Maybe. True? Likely.

In order to find your way to tranquility, you have to do some work with your mind. The peace is already there for you, but you aren’t experiencing it because of those rogue thoughts you are letting go. Your primary job is to fight back. Challenge that assertion! For God’s sake, don’t just let it go. You may be a pacifist. You might be the most non-confrontational person on Earth. But, if someone keeps punching you in the nose everyday, at some point you’d have to punch back. Not fighting back parallels the distress affecting your nose region. You’ve heard of the calm before the storm right? Well, there’s also a calm after the storm is over. Peace comes at the end of the fight. You can gauge your success rate by how you feel. But make no mistake, like it or not, you have to take it on. It’s like quitting smoking. It feels impossible at first, but day by day it get’s easier. At some point you even forget you ever smoked.

Once you begin to win that battle in your mind each day, your calm returns like that ferrel cat you’ve been feeding. In that space of calmness; of tranquility; at peace, you can finally see. Not the cat silly (smile), the trouble when it shows up. You’re at last in a position to handle the issues on the front end. As you cultivate this habit, you get more and more accustomed to the peace. In your peaceful state you can sort out the issues; recognize your triggers; think through your problems objectively and best of all, hear that still small voice ever able and willing to give you a solution. You’re no longer distracted by the hundred-fold fears that assault your mind. You cannot be overwhelmed because you’ve been handling your business in the only time period you can affect – now!

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this, in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”   ~ James Allen

Just some good thoughts…

 

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The Elusive Quiet Mind…


imagesThe world lives and moves amidst a persistent and pervasive low-level anxiety that permeates every thought, every action and almost every decision. You have been living with “it” for so long that “it’s” hardly recognizable. It’s sort of like this hidden specter in the background of your life, quietly, secretly whispering, ever whispering “trouble is coming” “trouble is coming…” When it first appeared, when you were a child, you recognized it as an aberration and did whatever you could to escape it. But then, as you got older, it happened so regularly that it no longer seemed unusual. In fact, you got so habituated to it, you gave up all hope of ever having a quiet mind again. You can’t concentrate; cannot sleep; need prescription meds, drugs and copious amounts of alcohol just to make it through the day. What the hell ever happened to your elusive quiet mind?

I’ll tell you what happened to it! Someone stole it from you. You had it at one time. But, as you got older it sort of dwindled away. You didn’t see it making an exit, you only experienced what it felt like after it was gone. Here’s a macabre thought, you never see the good things being taken away until it’s almost too late and you can apply that to unlimited situations. You can’t detect it because of its subtlety. All error works that way. No one grows up dreaming of being a junkie or a prostitute. They just get swept up and away to a strange land located who knows where.

So, here’s the rub… It’s your mind, quiet or restless. Your mind produces or replicates your own thoughts. You think and therefore you are. All throughout the day you are thinking and processing and feeling. You are doing it almost subconsciously, but make no mistake you are doing it. And, if you are like most folks, you are receiving a plethora of information every day. It’s like you are laying in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV of cable television, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of the Internet. Info, info, info, feed, feed, feed! All of that ‘so necessary’ information going in and taking root. Snippets of scary health information, fearful predictions, hatred, division, greed and a vast army of endless negative possibilities. All going in; all upsetting; all producing non-specific feelings of anxiety. And you wonder what happened to your quiet mind?

There was a time when people didn’t have access to so much information. There was a time when everyone didn’t know everything that is going on in the world. But that time is no more, so you have to do something to protect yourself. You wouldn’t think of eating poisonous food or drinking arsenic, yet give little thought to the daily onslaught of deadly toxic thoughts that are entering your noggin.

Worse than the external environment is the things you say to yourself on the inside. You being the only you, you have got, it seems you should always be on your own side! But instead, you say all manner of insults and think nothing of it. And, at the top of the list is that whole, “I’m not worthy thing!” Feeling unworthy and guilty is the precursor to anxiety. You know why? Because anxiety literally means divided and when you aren’t okay with you, you are most divided. You have got to come to terms with that right away quick, pronto! If you want to measure yourself accurately, know this ~ we are all unworthy in its truest sense. Who exactly is good enough for this life? No-one that’s who! So give yourself a break and stop vomiting on yourself! All that “I don’t deserve good things” nonsense serves only one purpose. To make you better? Hell no! To divide you against yourself and to defeat you before you ever get started!

So, how might someone like yourself get your quiet mind back? Well, here’s the shortlist:

1. Take control over the things that you are allowing into your mind.

2. Control your thinking and stop entertaining thoughts of fear and defeat. (They only gain power over you when you entertain them!)

3. When an agitating thought shows up, take the time to resolve it in your mind. Refuse it. Say it aint so! Challenge it (don’t argue with it!)

4. Practice being quiet. Quiet down, settle down, pursue peace like your life depends upon it.

5. Stop accepting anxiety as a normal part of life. Fear is not natural or normal no matter how long it has been going on. Your true natural state is one who is at rest, like you were when you were 7.

6. Begin to recognize triggers and sources of unrest. Then, find ways to avoid them. Unrest is ALWAYS a sign that something is not right. (Let the peace of God rule [umpire] in your heart..)

7. Stop verbalizing negatives and complaints. By verbalizing you are simply strengthening the things you do not want. Complaining just confirms your victim status and you are NOT a victim!

8. Take the time to learn about God and His ways. Be honest with yourself and recognize that you are afraid of life and NEED some assistance figuring this thing out. Caution ~ don’t pursue religion because it derives control from your fears!

Your quiet mind is not as elusive as you think. It is already there waiting for you to take back control and get back the booty that was stolen from you. The God of all peace wants you to be peaceful. However, you aren’t ever going to find it if you continue mindlessly trudging down all of the same paths you walked before. Instead of running from that specter promising you trouble,  listen for the true voice saying, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ~ Psssst “This is the way; walk ye in it.” There is just no other way my friends… Be quiet.

Just some good peaceful thoughts…