Monday, September 22, 2014

Your Mind: Teacher, Creature, or Companion?

"It's mind over matter." "Make up your mind!" "Oh, never mind..." Just think about how frequently the word "mind" enters our daily conversations. Our minds are an integral part of our three-part being: mind, body, and spirit. We often associate the mind with our head, thought, and logic. But despite the form in which we imagine our minds to take, there are some very different roles the mind can play in our daily lives:

  • Teacher: The mind is a powerful and complex teacher. It re-minds us when we’ve forgotten facts or figures and helps us through a challenging problem. It causes us to stop and think when we need to make a decision, and uses our previous experiences as reference in order to make better choices. It keeps a record of everything we’ve ever thought, said, and done, and uses memory to bring us the gift of contrast (“Been there; done that”).

    Our mind works with our feelings and sends us signals that something might be awry and we need to pay attention to it. It is the reflective and supportive adviser—helping us weigh the pros and cons from changing our internet service provider to changing our views about the importance of diet and exercise. It’s with us every day, every hour, every minute, and doesn’t like to be shut off. But once in a while it will allow us to be away from it... maybe for a minute or an hour... and then when we reunite it's like plugging back-in and booting up the computer. Class is back in session.

  • Creature: The mind is a powerful and complex creature. It creeps around and waits for the opportunity to jump out and scare us, or catches us by surprise when we’re not looking. It lurks around the dark corners with a mirror and attempts to make us look into it and judge our appearance. It can be the constant critic, judge, and antagonist, carrying around a thick history book of everything we’ve ever thought, said, and done, and then re-minds us about our mistakes and uses them against us like a court of law where we're guilty until proven innocent.

    Our mind has a voice recorder that plays back every negative word that every person has said to us, sticking to our fears like a sliver we can't remove. It keeps us up worrying at night, wakes us up with a headache in the morning, and never stops running. And we’re tired of the chase. Sometimes we’d rather be without it. It controls our manners when we’ve been scolded and makes us feel ashamed for who we are. It can be our worst enemy. And if we spend too much time focusing on what it is constantly saying, it can make us feel crazy and out of control.

  • Companion: The mind is powerful and complex companion. It wishes us happy birthday, and re-minds us where we parked the car in the stadium parking lot. It’s there to provide a history of everything we’ve ever thought, said, and done, and then uses our success to re-mind us about how far we’ve come. It plays back the recordings of anyone who’s ever thanked us, praised us, or shouted our name as we raced toward the finish line. It allows us to take a moment to pause and reflect upon a fond memory triggered by a beautiful song or the smell of fresh-baked cookies.

    Our mind is there to help us stay calm amidst a crisis, or speak a kind word to a friend in need. It’s our constant friend, confidant, and partner. And it always answers when we call. It’s there to motivate, encourage, and inspire us, and becomes the coach urging us to hang in there and just keep swimming. It reminds us that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it forgives us every time—no exception. It loves and accepts us as we are. It is our best friend and our family. It holds us when we are alone and reminds us that everything will be okay.

Question: Is your mind playing the role of teacher, creature or companion today? Depending on the situation, it could be playing the role of one, two, or all three at once. But the most important thing to remember is that it’s our choice to pay attention to what feels best. Whichever voice we focus on becomes the loudest. 

The best part is that we can control our minds. We can choose to focus on the teacher, creature, or the companion. When our minds are working for us in a positive and supportive way, we can better connect with our inner beings and bring more alignment and consistency to our lives. That’s the secret to finding better balance.

Today, become aware of your thoughts and the role of your mind, and remember you have the power of choice. Then, choose wisely what you consider your truth… for it is, truly, “all in your mind”.

To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
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