The human mind is a miracle, to be sure. It has accomplished many incredible things such as putting men on the moon and splitting the atom. Yet, this same mind is also responsible for thoughts that create the anxiety and fear that rob so many of the power and the ability to create lives filled with the things they desire and deserve.
Researchers generally agree that the average human being has as many as 60,000 thoughts in a single day. If these thoughts were all positive, creative and rooted completely in what is actually real, that would be a good thing. However, most of them are negative, repetitive, worrisome thoughts about things that usually never happen. Buddhists call this phenomenon the “monkey mind”, a runaway train of constant, mostly negative thoughts about the future and the past. Left unchecked, it can leave us oblivious to the precious present moments that fill our lives.
I once heard from a Buddhist priestess teaching my meditation class that we inherited our busy minds from primates who live with a high level of survival fear… always on the lookout for danger. Constant, often fearful thinking is a part of who we are and we will never be able to turn it off.
What we can do, however, is literally replace the monkey mind’s predominately fear-based thoughts with thoughts that produce feelings of gratitude and happiness.
“Happiness comes through taming the mind;
without taming the mind there is no way to be happy.” Dalai Lama
Here are a few things to try out for the week that will help tame the monkey mind. Please share your thoughts, realizations and experiences here on the blog.
Carry a “Gratitude Rock”
As discussed in the “The Secret”, pick out any rock that appeals to you and carry it with you. Every time you touch the rock, STOP and for that moment be grateful for something. Literally say “Thank You”. This may be something as simple the taste of an apple, the vivid color of a flower, or the uncontained laughter of a child. You’ll find an endless supply of things to be grateful for. Over time your mind will begin to automatically think more about those things that generate feelings of gratitude and happiness.
Spend 30 Minutes Each Day Outside in Nature
Deepak Chopra suggests this in his book “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success”. It becomes a lot easier to feel gratitude when you’re surrounded by the wonders of nature. Make a choice to be with and plants, flowers, animals, rivers, ocean, trees, children running on a playground, birds flying. Appreciate the magic that they are. Love that we have them in our world. More time outside is better, but try for at least 30 minutes. You deserve it!
Pay it Forward to 3 People a Day
Help make someone else’s day. Smile and say hello to a stranger on the street, hug someone who needs a hug, really listen to someone, acknowledge someone, take a moment to tell someone you love them, help someone, give something away. Being compassionate and making a difference in someone else’s day generates feelings of love and gratitude for both the giver and the receiver.
Bonus – Gratitude Video
It’s a great idea to constantly feed your mind with something that makes you feel good and motivates you. Try starting each day this week by watching the following video, a breathtaking reminder of the wonderful world we live in. Also, please share with the group videos that have inspired you.
As you spend more of your waking day basking in gratitude, you’ll find yourself feeling happier and more powerful… a good place to be as you step into bigger, richer lives that you love and DESERVE!
Have a gratitude-filled week, everyone!