4 of the Most Important “To Do’s” in Attaining (and Maintaining) Peace of Mind
A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. ~ Muhammad Ali Click To Tweet
Transformation is the essence of all things. There is nothing in this universe that doesn’t undergo transformation. All things change, all things adapt, all thing re-form themselves. As far as we can tell (according to the finest minds among us), it is an immutable law, a dance with no beginning and no end, and the most natural thing in all of existence: change.
Yet most people hate change. As humans, it seems each of us has an aversion, in one way or another, to this most fundamental rule. Nearly everything we do could be seen as an attempt to create some stability, some solid ground, some security — whether it be emotional, intellectual, physical, or some mix of all three. We are creatures of comfort, and change… well, change is often uncomfortable.
At the same time, so few of us are living the lives we feel we should be, that we know we could be. Far from being something that the world has done — and continues — to do to us, it is rather a case of what we have failed to do, and what we have failed to be.
If you can change yourself, you can change the world, simple as that. And where does all of this ‘change’ start?
In the mind, of course.
The following is an adaptation from the book “Living Beyond the Five Senses: The Emergence of a Spiritual Being” by Teresa L. DeCicco, PhD, dream psychologist and expert on personal transformation.
1) Watch Your Thoughts
The practice of change begins by watching thoughts as they arise and starting to understand and befriend the landscape of the mind. People live many years of their lives unaware of their own thoughts. For this reason, thoughts run rampant and can run the show.
After many years of letting thoughts tread their paths through the mind, it becomes nearly impossible to stop them. It is then that medications are often needed to stop the thoughts that fuel the deleterious emotions.
Rather than letting it go this far, we can instead begin to gain a little control over them ourselves. We can learn to watch them. We can learn to listen to them. We can become aware of this level of life that has been ignored for so long.
Once we begin watching our own thoughts we can then actively try to stop the ones that can lead to harm. We do not need to replay horrible traumas, real or created, over and over again. We can be more compassionate with ourselves by not repeating those cycles of storytelling, that are often automatic when left to their own devices.
If we can stop — or even distract the mind away — from painful thoughts and memories, we can begin creating a new way of being. This is the beginning of a way of being that is not constantly generating pain for us from the inside.
As we watch the stream of thoughts in the mind we can also choose to replace negative mind chatter with positive thoughts. If positive thoughts are too difficult to conjure, then we can at least put the mind in neutral. We can consciously choose to say no to old hurts and worries of new pain.
Since thoughts feed our feelings, we begin working at two levels. By not having negative thoughts, we are not creating food for negative feelings. As both the mind and the emotions begin to change, then the body also changes. Positive thoughts and feelings bring calmness and peace to the actual cells of our body. We can literally see ourselves looking and feeling more vigorous and youthful.
As we observe our inner dialogue in this way, we can begin to weed out thoughts that are damaging. We begin to hear our own discussions about how terrible we are, or the world is. We hear ourselves when we’re complaining or criticizing other people, and this alone begins the process of lessening it.
If we choose to add meditation into our daily practice to calm the emotions, this will also greatly calm the mind. We can let go of our old thinking, even for a short while at first, and let a new way of being unfold.
Visual imagery is a form of meditative practice that allows us to rehearse situations in life as we would prefer they unfold. If we have a difficult co-worker that we ruminate about, we can imagine, for example, integrating silence into our interactions with them, or anything else with think would help.
This form of mental work will help us during waking hours to deal with situations — and our thoughts about those situations — differently.
While consciously choosing new thought forms throughout the day, we can also choose to occupy the mind with new ideas by reading some form of spiritual material every day. The choice of that material comes from a feeling that resonates differently for each person.
Some will choose it in the form of popular novels with spiritual messages, others will choose religious doctrine; still others will find blogs and quotes uplifting.
We know the right material to take in by how it feels. If it leaves us feeling calm and peaceful then it is speaking to us in a positive way. Whatever the material, it teaches us how to evolve in an encouraging way.
As we change our thinking with conscious awareness, we can also begin the practice of mindfulness and live in the moment as best we can. We begin to not think ahead of ourselves in unnecessary ways or ruminate over a past we cannot change.
We live with our thoughts in the here and now. We then experience each and every moment of life rather than distracting away from the present.
As we transform our daily thoughts then we may also begin to see our sleeping mind change by the way we dream. Since dreams are the thoughts from the day continuing on during sleep, they hold rich information about our lives. They hold our deepest secrets and our hidden fears.
As we transform our daily thoughts then we may begin to see our sleeping mind change by the way we dream. Click To Tweet
3) Keep A Dream Journal
Keeping a dream journal is one way of getting to know our dream imagery. By writing dreams down, we bring into awareness those aspects of the self that are being exposed while the defense mechanisms are down.
We can learn so much about the parts of ourselves that keep us blocked or that we keep hidden. The dreaming mind becomes an active compatriot when befriended. If we choose to delve deeper into the mind during sleep, we can also become aware of lucid dreaming and precognitive dreaming.
Here the mind is helping us explore deeper aspects of the self and providing assistance in the days that lie ahead.
Conscious awareness and dreams will alert us to our own creation of drama where we complain, criticize, and point out the faults of others. These are all mechanisms that we use to unconsciously focus on ego-inflation, by creating a false self.
By catching ourselves in these behaviours we can refocus our attention back onto ourselves and what we need to do to evolve in a healthy way. By distracting our minds with gossip and the like, we are resisting the act of looking inward to what we are thinking and feeling.
By noticing our own language, which is a reflection of what we are thinking, we can guide ourselves back to a transformational path rather than the old path we have worn so well.
When familiar thoughts of negativity begin to set in — and we will often know this by the anger, irritation, depression, or other negative emotions they cause, we can invite the mind to surrender.
We simply let go of all the old thoughts and do not let ourselves get trapped in our own minds. We surrender to the process and slowly let our old thoughts dissipate which in turn, decreases suffering.
By not resisting our own thinking any more we allow a new way to be cultivated.
4) Widen Your Vision
As we think and feel our way through the world in a new way, we can also hold in our awareness the repercussions of the Domino effect. We hold in our minds the notion that everything we think and feel will result in a behaviour that is wide-reaching.
Our gossip can harm many, many others for the short term gain of negative emotional fulfillment. All negative thoughts lead to negative feelings, which will then often lead to negative behaviour at some level. This chain reaction will spread like a cancer to other people and from those people, to other people.
We now become aware and responsible for what we are sending out to the world and we begin to live each interaction knowing there is a connection to all others.
If we think about a past hurt long enough we will begin to feel badly. This negative thought form has created a negative emotion which can then cause us to react aggressively toward others.
For example, we may find ourselves swearing or acting aggressively to other drivers in traffic because we are carrying a negative thought-form. That negativity now transfers to the other driver who reacts to it, and this initiates a negative feeling in him.
Now both people are carrying negative emotions and go home to their families, playing out their negative behaviour there. One person may yell at his teenage son for something unrelated, while the other stonewalls his wife by being cold and uncaring. The wife then complains to her friends about this act of injustice toward her and the teenager turns to drugs to numb out the hurt.
On and on the effects of negative thoughts spread, and we are all responsible for our part in that chain reaction. As we consciously feel a connection to the effects of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, we take responsibility for our part which helps us transform that much more rapidly.
The End Result? Non-Judgement, Unity & Understanding of Purpose.
One of the major changes to occur for those moving toward transformation is the tendency to unconsciously judge others slowly decreases. We come to accept that we cannot know someone else’s path or the life they have lived. We do not know how or why they are behaving as they are, nor do we know how this fits into their unique life and purpose.
We also come to realize that we don’t know why things happen as they do for others, and ultimately, we are just to mind our own path, our own thoughts and feelings, and our own life. If we feel a pull to help others on their path, we do so without control or without an agenda to make others think as we do.
We eventually allow ourselves to feel mentally connected to all people and all things. We consciously feel a responsibility for our part in the universe. This process lets us see that we are each a cell in the body of the universe and we can decide to be a healthy contributor, or, like a cancer, spreading destruction to others and the world. Every thought then becomes of vital importance.
So what do we do, then, for people who are not consciously aware and behaving negatively toward us? We change our minds. For extremely difficult people and circumstances we can practice being neutral; by remaining mentally and emotionally neutral we avoid any negative effects on ourselves and thus we do not harm our own transformation. Whenever possible, we walk away and keep our spiritual balance intact as best we can.
We eventually begin to see that no matter where we are or what we’re doing we are never separate from others. Our connection is deeply rooted and intricately weaved to all others in the world. Given this, we also begin to feel a sense of responsibility and belonging to the planet and its place in all of creation. Not just to our family, a group of friends, a town, a country — but to the entire universe.
About the Author
Teresa L. DeCicco, PhD was a University Professor, researcher, and author studying Dreams and Dreaming and Psychology of the Spiritual Self when a wave of transformative experiences occurred.
Over a postceding 17 year period, her experience with near death, clairsentience, precognitive dreaming, and other anomalies led her to understand the shift that was occurring, not only in her, but in millions of others at this time in history.
She shares her work on TV and radio and in lectures around the world.