How do you prepare for the inevitable difficulties of changing your lifestyle in taming the mind?
Turn off your technology for pre-appointed times of day. Stop working and go to bed, and lie there and stare at the ceiling. Be with yourself. Cultivate a meditation practice. Do whatever you can to get quiet. You’ll find yourself there.
What you’ll find is that you are a deep, deep well, and that you are more than the sum of your reactions, feelings, thoughts, and actions.
Technology can unfortunately become more than a tool – it’s a way that we can “check out” from what we’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Get quiet by turning off the phone, turning off the TV, turning off the tablet, or whatever is currently in vogue as the distraction du jour.
Develop some honest, positive mantras to replace your negative thoughts.
Here, it is very important not to lie to yourself. Don’t make your mantra something like, “I’m so beautiful,” if you’re struggling with self-esteem and don’t actually feel beautiful right now. Your body and psyche know when you’re being dishonest, even with yourself.
If you don’t feel beautiful, for example, make a mantra that is realistic and sustainable, like, “I can be healthy, powerful, and vibrant.” Or, “I can make good choices.” Or, “I am capable of improvement.” One of my favorites is, “This too shall pass.” Or, “I can get through anything.” Those are realistic for me – not floating on a field on a cloud with flowers in a sunset and wrapped in moonbeams.
Too-positive visualizations don’t work for me (or many others, for that matter), because I don’t really believe them when I’m pain. However, I do believe, “I can get through anything.” It acknowledges the pain and frustration, but reassures me that I am a capable, mature human being with time on my side.
Now… what does all of this have to do with food? You may be asking yourself, “What do all of these tips have to do with my weight problem, my eating disorder, or my body image issues?”
Good question. Here’s why the mind is so important:
It’s not about the food.
Or replace “food” with a word that works better for your particular situation.
It’s not about the food.
It’s about the stories you tell yourself about the food, because these stories are a reflection of how you “digest” your experiences.
You are not your mind.
Read that again.
You… are… not… your… mind.
You are not your feelings.
You are not your reactions.
All of these are companions with you on life’s journey, and learning to quiet yourself, check in with yourself, train yourself, soothe yourself, and love yourself are essential for taming the “monkey mind.” Don’t be afraid of yourself! There may be some darkness in there, but it’s nothing you can’t handle!
You can learn, grow, and dance with your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and reactions.
The bottom line is that no one is going to give yourself that gift except for you.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
That “invincible summer” is something more than the mind and feelings. It’s who you are, at your most authentic, unshakable core. Your job is get in touch with that calm one-ness, and trust the process.