Shifting our mood - Moving through the rooms of our mind
When I hear people make a comment to someone “You’re lucky to...X, Y, Z...” I can feel the envy and bitterness in my body. Not that we don’t say that to help someone realize their blessings, but more often than not such comments are coming from a place of lack, pain or bitterness. Especially when the comment doesn’t quite fit.
Even though I may say it myself sometimes, I realize that this isn’t a very nice comment to make. Telling someone they’re ‘lucky to...’ whatever, is at some level insinuating that they don’t deserve it. That they are enjoying a favor from the Universe or something that ‘poor old us’ can’t, for whatever reason. It puts the focus on us instead of them. It’s actually quite narcissistic and even worse it doesn’t serve us.
When we say to someone “You’re lucky to...”, it immediately translates to “I am not lucky to...” in our brain. It puts a distance and creates a contrast between ‘lucky them’ and ‘unlucky us’, thus perpetuating the negativity and sense of lack, pain, sadness or even envy.
So when someone shares a piece of their happiness or joy with us, why not say things positively affirming or a compliment? “How wonderful!”, “You look great!”, “Have fun!”, “Enjoy!” . Sounds very different and much better than a snarky “You’re lucky to be there, have that” or whatever.
More importantly, aligning ourselves with someone else’s joy and good fortune shifts our mindset from a sense of lack and sadness to one of abundance and joy. Am not trying to convince you to disregard your reality but to shift your mood by going outside of yourself for a moment and actually share the experience of joy of another person and be happy for them!
Law of Attraction?
The irony is that this is not as selfless as it sounds, but can actually be quite useful to us in the end. The more we align our energy and mindset to one that is positive, joyful, soothing, abundant and pleasurable, the better we feel. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and virtual reality. You imagine it, you feel it. The feel good hormones and neurotransmitters work all the same!
Actually I don’t even believe am writing this! I of all people have been a great critic of what I have just written above! All the Law of Attraction theories I perceived as fluff and New Agey nonsense. My mind went to the millions of people starving, suffering in deep poverty, getting killed in wars, suffering terrible pain and illness. I felt and still do by the way, that all this positive, self indulgent western bubble was an incredibly ignorant and cruel offense to all these people.
Yet, there is something called Positive Psychology and I do believe we can benefit from it to help us free ourselves from what sometimes becomes the shackles of negativity. When we are experiencing and living situations that are overwhelming and traumatic it’s extremely hard to be able to see beyond and outside of where we’re at. To even imagine a possibility there might be something else, a solution, a different and better option.
We literally get entrapped and enslaved, not just by what we perceive our reality to be but also by our thoughts, our mindset. The later define and control our decisions and behavior. The way we show up in the world and the attitude we adopt, influences the way the world perceives us and reacts to us in turn. This creates a positive or vicious cycle depending on what we chose to believe about ourselves and what we put out there.
Am not speaking of miracles here, even though I do believe they do happen. Am talking about improving our state of being, our way of thinking so as to enable ourselves to feel and live better. Whatever that better may be for each person’s circumstances. This is all about freeing ourselves from our mind’s clutter, organizing our thoughts and focusing on where we want to go.
It’s about learning the skill to stay in the present moment and harnessing our fear mongering gremlins. Learning how to discriminate between real and imaginary fears and worries and discern an objective as well as more probable truth. Being able to see the possibilities and opportunities around us instead of being blinded by a veil of negativity and impossibility stemming from our negative beliefs. Realizing that we have a choice over what we want to believe or not. What we want to feed, perpetuate, grow and evolve.
The rooms of our mind
Our thoughts become our patterns and these become our habits. Our habits create our familiar state of being. It’s comfortable there, it’s safe because we know it so well and we stay there. States of minds have their own little place in our brains. We even say so, “Am at a hard place right now”. We can feel and realize this when we shift our mood consciously. It actually feels as if we’re moving to a different room in our mind.
The more time we spend in each room, the more real and detailed it becomes. The more power it has on our belief system, our choices, decisions and behavior. Decluttering our mind is not always enough. We need to change rooms. There’s the room of the past with all the bad memories, there’s a room of the past with all the good ones. There’s a room of the future with all our worries and fears where all our gremlins are having parties, there’s the room of the future with all the possibilities and our dreams. There’s a room for depression, one for anxiety, one for bliss and one for peace. There’s a room for every mood and state of being or any combination of them according to your usual, learned and established patterns.
There’s a room called the living room which is our present, yet we spend most of our time in all the other rooms instead. The living room, our present moment, is in the centre of the house, everything else is around it. When we manage to sit comfortably in the present’s armchair we can’t see the other rooms, we can’t see the past nor the future. We just are. We savor our coffee or tea, relishing in the comfort of the lush pillows, relaxing, feeling good, enjoying the moment. Alternatively we can stand up and spread our arms out wide, taking space for ourselves, radiating our beingness into the space. Inhaling full long breaths, exhaling relief and pleasure. We are totally free in that room, free to stay, free to go to the other rooms if we so wish. Yet if we stay there for a moment we can feel the wonderful and blissful relief of being free from the sadness of the past and the worries of the future. Our whole being experiencing fully and delightfully the present moment.
The more time we spend in the ‘Living room’ of the present, the more able we are to control and shift our thoughts and chose our beliefs. The more skillful we become in moving from room to room in the house of our mind. It is a scary thought to think that we may spend a Lifetime trapped in the rooms that make us feel miserable instead of those that can feel so good and make ourselves happy.
Pay attention to the rooms your mind is taking you to. To the dark places of your soul. Am not saying don’t go there, am just saying that you need to know you have the power and control over which doors you open and how much time you chose to spend there. Sometimes we need to revisit the dark rooms of the past, the trick is to keep moving and balancing those visits with time spent in the rooms that nurture our souls, that make us feel good.
The more time we spend in the pleasant and nourishing spaces of our mind, the more positive our mindset becomes. Similarly the more time we spend with people who have a positive mindset the more it rubs off on us. This is why it’s so important to choose wisely both where we spend our time in our mind as well as in real life with different people.
Sadness is real, depression is real, suffering is real, happiness is real, joy is real yet our thoughts are the masters that determine what our reality is at every given moment and our reality is whatever we chose to feel or perceive. Note that am not talking of extreme situations like war or starvation conditions here but a rather regular normal reality.
The one big ugly liar in all this is fear! By far most of the things fear terrorizes us with aren’t true, yet it gets us every time. Why? Because fear is the greatest ally and protector of life itself! Its function is to protect us from harm, to keep us alive. If it weren’t for fear most of us wouldn’t be here. So why not embrace fear and thank it for all that it’s doing for us? Why not give it the job that it should have, instead of letting it run the whole house of our mind?
Take your power back. Take the steering wheel. Learn to drive, fly or sail, whatever you prefer.