“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Maybe because spring is here, the Sage was speaking about tending your physical being, and for me it brought up how we tend and feed our mental garden.
Since spring is a time of renewal, let’s look at the best ways to cultivate mental renewal this year. The most powerful aspect of mental renewal is in the realm of thought.
What thoughts do you empower that do not serve you?
Thought is powerful. Our experience of our world is created through our thoughts. When disempowering or negative thoughts fill our mind, our world view is tainted. You have the power to select the perspective by which you create your experience of living.
An example: Life is great or life is not great. Each time you think of it either way, note that it merely is a thought. Depending upon which thought you select, your view of that moment (and your world) is impacted. If you select “life is great,” you will see things which have life appear great. If you select “life is not great,” you will see those things which validate life is not great. And with those life is not great thoughts, you may tend to spiral down into a state of anxiety and worry about things: worry/anxiety begets worry/anxiety.
A thought is just a thought until you tag an emotion to it. In the example of “life is not great,” most people normally tag a very low vibration emotion to it. The emotion feels real throughout your entire body. We then think the thought is real, we feel it – completely.
The best mental garden tool to pull from the tool belt is awareness. Become aware of your thinking as though you are looking at you from a third-person perspective… Just see the thought. If it is a low-vibration emotion tagged to your thought, see it. When you become aware of your mental state, simply let that thought go. THAT is ALL you have to do: let it go. The beauty of the mind is that another thought will be right there. Be aware literally that you have tens to hundreds of thoughts to choose from. Thought is just a choice.
Perspective is the other tool in your belt. Notice that you can see all the thoughts: the great to the good to the dark. Know they exist. When I am working with my clients, we get to a space of knowing the whole range of thoughts exist, and with that knowledge, I empower the thoughts that inspire me. The other thoughts still exist; knowing that means I am aware and I have power to let these thoughts go when I choose them.
One of the most powerful exercises is to quietly sit and become aware of the river of thought. Notice how you can select a thought and how you also can let thought flow. Soon you learn thought empowerment in all perspectives.
This week, simply become aware of the range of your thoughts. Notice when you choose empowering thoughts and non-empowering thoughts. Notice the activities that have you be empowered in your thinking and those which have you be dis-empowered.
The closer you come to knowing that you alone create the world of your experience, the more vital it becomes for you to discover just who is doing the creating.
~ Eric Micha’el Leventhal
Contributed by Executive, Life and Spirituality Coach, Jim Pehkonen