Choose your state of mind
Have you ever just stepped back and listened to your mind?
“Oh god my bum looks huge in these jeans.”
“I’m just so over this work, come on 5 o’clock.”
“Are you kidding me, why did you say that?”
If you take a step back, you will notice that you can observe your thoughts. There is a you that is watching. You can watch the thoughts, you can separate yourself from your thoughts and with practice, you can more consciously choose the thoughts that are worth responding to and those that aren’t.
Have you ever wondered where your thoughts come from? 99% of them are conditioned habits of thought that have come from somewhere deep in your history. Our habits of thought can make us or break us. Our habits of thought drive our habits of behaviours, and our habits of emotional response.
Now just contemplate that for a moment. It is rare we actually have an original thought. Most of them are rehashed lessons of old. Some of them even inherited from those close to us. There is a part of you that can observe this, and that part of you is the doorway to your potential.
I learnt long ago not to trust my lower mind, it tends to get me into bad situations.
I was getting up for the third time that night to a crying baby. He was 9 months old and had been sleeping through the night for a few weeks. My mind was frantically looking for answers. “Oh what the hell, he’s just playing games. Why is he up again? Maybe he’s just wanting attention, what should I do? Do I let him cry? This is crazy, maybe I should do one of those baby sleep courses and learn how to train him to sleep, how can any human go through this and be sane? What am I doing wrong? He was sleeping through the night.”
On and on my mind went, searching for answers. This was my first child and I wanted to get it right. What was the solution? I had to fix this. The next day I noticed the red sore gums and pink cheeks, he was miserable with the pain of teething. I had spent the night blaming my baby and then myself for not getting it right. This is one of many situations that helped me to recognise that the mind is a poor substitute for wisdom, especially when sleep deprived. I learnt to turn the volume down over the years.
Instead of accepting what my mind told me as an interpretation of my circumstances, I gently allowed those thoughts to go on by and replaced them with an ‘upgraded’ response, such as; “This is a stage and it will pass. I’m not sure what is wrong with my baby, but I do know he needs me to comfort him. He is such a blessing, look at the softness of his skin and the way he looks at me. Wow I’m lucky.”
It helps to understand that there are different levels of mind.
There is the very basic primal mind that has the sole responsibility of keeping you alive. It doesn’t care whether you are happy or thriving in your environment, it’s just about survival.
Then there is the conditioned mind, put together through the early years as a newborn to around 7 years old, where we literally download our parents’ conditioning. If we were raised with a lot of criticism and love and connection was conditional, then this aspect of mind will be more likely to be defensive and critical of self and others. This conditioning process continues throughout our lives as we take on or reject what our world is telling us. These become habits of thought and our beliefs about the world. These beliefs become our behaviours and emotional responses. The good news is that this can all be ‘upgraded,’ like a software program that continually gets improved. We can learn to replace these thoughts with more healthy and relevant thoughts that will allow us to accept what is going on and respond in a way that promotes growth and learning.
Observe the thoughts and instead of reacting to them, choose if they are helping you.
Then there is the higher mind. This mind is open to inspiration, creativity and is a little bit quieter. It has the capacity to focus and become completely engaged in tasks that can show up our potential to do and be extraordinary. When this mind is cultivated, as a parent you are more interested in your child than yourself. You are more receptive to what they are communicating and how to support them through their constantly changing needs. Your parenting is more creative and way more satisfying. You recognise that trial and error is the pathway to working it all out, and the whole thing is one big adventure.
Your children will be your greatest teachers in upgrading the mind. They know exactly where your hot buttons are, they know how to continually challenge your capacity to surrender to what is and to open yourself to the beauty of what you are doing. After all, they are changing daily – what better way to learn?
I wish you all the fun and adventure that parenting brings and enjoy upgrading your mind. The benefits will permeate all parts of your life.
Love and blessings to you all,