Mental Balance

A balanced mind abides in the present moment.

To abide means to remain, continue, stay, dwell, reside.  The mind only knows now, this present moment.  There is no past or future.  Have I presented another paradox?  If the mind knows only the now then what is going on when I spend an entire day dwelling on past mistakes, losses or disappointments?  What is going on when I spend an entire night in fear and anxiety over future possibilities?  I am bringing the past and/or the future into the present moment and my mind will respond accordingly as will my body and my emotions.

When I abide in the past, whether the memories are filled with joy or trauma, my mind interprets it as happening in the present.  And if I abide in the future, whether I look forward with joyful anticipation or anxiety-filled dread, my mind thinks it is happening right now.  Aside from the physical and emotional responses that are triggered, I am totally oblivious to and missing out on the present moment.

Yes, there are times when the future or the past are appropriately part of the present.  When families get together and share laughter and joy while reminiscing, that is their present moment.  When a young family prepares for the birth of a child months ahead of its arrival, that is their present moment.  These experiences come and go and the attention returns to the beauty of the sky, paying bills on time, or preparing a meal that will be shared lovingly with the family.

The key is developing the ability to abide in the moment.  I come back to each person finding what works for them, what keeps them in the here and now.  For me, when I walk, my intention is to see, hear and enjoy my world.  I watch the sky, listen to the birds, say hi to neighbors and pet their dogs. I breathe the air and allow gratitude for my life, even when at present it is filled with challenges.

Years ago, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggested on one of his tapes to walk very slowly to the phone when it rings.  As you walk, ask yourself if you can be fully present with the person calling.  If you cannot stop what you are doing and be only with that person, do not answer the phone.  Call them later.  (Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk living in exile.  The primary focus of his loving, compassionate teaching is mindfulness.)

The way to begin is to become aware of your own mental patterns.  It is important to embrace this awareness without judgement.  Awareness allows me to accept what I have been doing to avoid the present moment.  Once I accept that I have created these patterns, I can forgive myself if necessary and begin to create new patterns of mental behavior.

For many people, this process is enhanced through counseling with a professional therapist.  I am in this group.  There have been a number of times in my life when therapy was essential to finding and maintaining a healthy mental state of being.  Others need medication in addition because they live with a chemical imbalance of some type that must be treated in order for them to be able to experience healthy thought patterns.  Remember, the physical directly impacts the mental and vice versa.

May you learn to abide in the moment as you discover the balance of body, mind and emotions that allows you to do so.  Peace, tranquility and contentment will follow and also abide with you.

 

What This Moment Contains

From page 174 of Deepak Chopra’s book The 13th Disciple:

Every life contains  moments when a person sees beyond the illusion. The secret is to pay attention, because once the moment is gone, so is its power to change you. You must be open and alert to signals from your true self.

Trust Is Not A Gift

I raised my children before computers and cell phones. As they began to venture out with friends, spend nights in other people’s homes, etc., I began setting boundaries, telling them to check in with me, and being sure they had change for pay phones. One of them asked me why I didn’t trust them, after all they were my children!

This is when I began to teach them why the virtue of trust and being trusted is so valuable….because it is earned. It is proven by a history of behaviors that have shown others that they would consistently do what they said they were going to do. Now that they would be making many decisions on their own, they needed to show me that they would consistently keep agreements with me and live up to the expectations those agreements created. I also taught them the agreements must be spoken and agreed upon by everyone involved, i.e. each of them and their father and me.

I remember saying to them “I don’t trust you because you exist. I will trust you because you show me that you can be trusted.” Then I reminded them that they grew to trust me because when I said I would do something, I did it.  Over and over again.

Trust is not a gift. It must be earned.

May each of us find ourselves trust-worthy today. Blessings.

An Invitation Home

In his book The Art of Communicating, Thich Nhat Hahn invites us to come home to ourselves by walking mindfully:

Home is the here and now, where all the wonders of life are already available. You can’t arrive fully in the here and now unless you invest your whole body and mind into the present moment. If you haven’t arrived one hundred percent, stop where you are and don’t take another step. Stay there and breathe until you’re sure you have arrived one hundred percent. Then you can smile a smile of victory. It’s probably best to do that only when you are enjoying mindful walking alone; if you are around other people, you may create a traffic jam.

You don’t need an app or an outsider to tell you whether you have arrived. You will know you have arrived because you will recognize that you’re comfortable being. When you walk from the parking lot to your office, go home in each step. Recover yourself and connect with yourself during every step. No matter where you’re going, you can walk as a free person on this planet Earth and enjoy every step.

Recover yourself. Come home to yourself.

Today, may you be blessed in the knowing you are home. May you know the comfort of be-ing.

An Intention

Trusted teachers have both taught and reminded me over the years to set an intention at the beginning of each day.  Intention is a powerful energy that guides  our thoughts and actions throughout the day, reminding us of the truth of who we are. Below are a few examples of intentions I have found to be supportive of my journey.

 

 I live from the Peace of my Soul.

I Am All That I Am

I manifest the love And compassion of the Divine.

I am Peace Itself.

I Am Love Itself.

I am One with All That Is.

I like to write my intention for the day on a small whiteboard in my kitchen. Seeing it helps me to live in the moment and to be aware of my thoughts and my behavior. Few days pass that fail to bring me opportunities to live my intention fully. Sometimes the circumstance affirms the truth of my intention; other times my intention guides me into higher awareness of my own patterns. This awareness elicits either gratitude or the desire to shift what I am thinking or doing.

May your intentions be clear, true, and powerful. Namaste. Peace dear hearts.

Stop For A Moment

Stop for a moment today and look at the sky. Take a deep slow breath and listen. What do you hear around you? Are you living in the moment? Are you  aware of what you are thinking, feeling, and  experiencing in that moment?

Why? Because this moment is all you really have.

May you be blessed with the Presence of the Divine; may you know the Truth of Who You Are.

Underneath Anger

One of the things I find underneath anger is fear. Being afraid is one of the most uncomfortable experiences I have had. When I am ignoring or unconscious of my fear, it often manifests s anger. When I step back and examine the anger, I find that it is often with myself. I have created a situation, or stayed in one for too long, that is resulting in someone coming at me in a hostile manner, whether verbal or physical. Even if I am angry about something beyond my personal life, I realize it comes down to something very similar. I am not powerful enough to prevent or change something that is happening. I am not in control; I do not have enough influence. I’m scared.

I do not like being scared so I get angry with myself for not being powerful enough.

At some point, once I have owned my powerlessness, I come to the doorway of surrender. I lean into my spiritual practice and immerse myself in Divine Love. As fear lessens so does anger. Now, I can be more honest. What can I do? Can I love myself enough to leave a relationship, job, or situation that is not healthy for me? Can I become more involved in my community and world, remembering that even small efforts can build into change? Can I spend quality time with people I admire and learn from them? Taking action in even small ways lessens my fear and builds my confidence in myself, in the Divine flow of life.

I can use the anger that was covering my fear to motivate me into different thinking, into positive action. Fear and anger are powerful energies and those energies can be channeled into the courage and strength I need to be a more effective human being. Yes!