Discipline for the mind
Everyone knows that a good diet and exercise are necessary in order to be fit, slim and healthy. Certainly this applies as we all get older.
Of course there are some lucky souls who seem to be able to eat anything and everything, never do any exercise and still remain thin like a rake. Unfortunately for most of us, this does not apply.
Most of us need to apply discipline to our diet and exercise regime. We cannot eat anything we want, whilst lounging on the couch all day and not expect to put on weight, begin to feel tired, have poor sleep and long term have to live with the risk of developing all sorts of diseases, such as diabetes.
So why don’t we apply the same rules to the mind?
I had a brilliant day last week. I woke up early, so spend about 30 minutes in meditation, including elements of gratitude, forgiveness, creative visualisation and connection with spirit. The day still had challenges, but I seemed to manage it all well, feeling joyful and positive.
A few days later things didn’t go quite so well. I woke feeling anxious and worried. The day proceeded in the same vein. I found myself getting impatient and angry. I did not enjoy my work, felt harassed and overwhelmed.
But when I had a moment, I wondered about the stark difference between those two days. Why was one day so positive, whereas the other seemed a struggle from the moment I opened my eyes? What was the difference?
Then I realised something I really should have known better. Something I do know, but for some reason and on some level thought did not apply to me.
The mind also requires application of discipline, just as the body does.
Just as the body needs exercise and the right input, so does the mind.
You cannot expect to allow the mind to do whatever it wants, including allowing any thoughts to linger, affecting your feelings, your mood, your actions and habits and expect to feel joy, bliss and happiness.
This might well apply to the few lucky ones, just as the few lucky ones don’t need to do much exercise and seemingly can eat what they want.
For most of us not applying discipline to our mind leaves us open to the forces and energies around us. It leaves us without protection, without control, without a choice. And this will often lead to anxiety, low mood or long term even depression and hopelessness.
Years ago, when I spend some time training on a psychiatric ward, our professor always spoke about the importance of psycho-hygiene.
Just as you need to wash your hands to get rid of dirt, you need to cleanse your mind to rid it from negative thoughts and emotions. You would never expect not to wash your hands and have them remain clean at all times.
Just as our hands get dirty, so our mind picks up thoughts and emotions from around us that are not clean, or to our liking. That is ok, and perfectly normal.
But what you do with these, is really down to you.
Do you let them linger, and allow those negative thoughts to colour your mind, your day, your life? Or do you take charge, remove what does not suit you and instead feed your mind with the things that lead you on a positive trajectory?
Yes, it does require discipline and some application. And no, it will not always be easy. But you really will reap what you sow.
In that way our mind is just like a garden. Things will always grow. And it is up to you to plant the seeds of your choice or let the weeds take over. Your life will reflect back to you what is happening.
So now I am going to set my alarm for about 30 minutes earlier each morning, and will not start my day without my meditation. And I shall expect to live blissfully ever after….