You’re probably aware of the phrase, thoughts become things.
What does this really mean?
After all, thoughts are nonphysical and our minds cannot change the physical world.
Here’s how it works, and why it is so important to gain control over your mind:
Whatever dominates your thoughts and imagination becomes reality because thoughts generate emotions, emotions generate interpretations, interpretations generate experiences, and your experiences are your reality.
You have a tennis match, but the sky is black and lightning is flashing all around. You become furious because “it always rains on my day off!” and your day is ruined. Your experience of that cancelled match is a negative one. In this example, you are already predisposed to having a bad experience if something goes wrong… because you believe that the weather is always bad on your day off.
You are having financial troubles to the point where you think about them constantly – doing the mental math of adding up income vs. expenses, and you always seem to be in the red.
As a result you become chronically anxious, and start doubting your ability to make it as an adult.
This negative emotional state leads to a sort of paralysis and hopelessness, and you keep looking for sources of income that match your low self-esteem (and predictably, these sources of income are right about at the level of your self-esteem – not enough).
In this example, your negative thoughts about your financial stability are a direct reflection of your low self-worth and thoughts along the lines of, “I can’t make ends meet” or “I never have enough!” and because of this cycle of no-money and bad-feelings, you feel stuck searching for income that will just barely cover your expenses – and you never dare to think big.
The important thing to remember is that it’s your dominant thoughts that create these realities.
There is a way to get control of your mind, though, so your life experience – your reality – becomes more pleasing. If you practice this technique every day, particularly when you catch yourself having a bad experience in any area of life, you will gain control over your mind.
Listen, Feel, and Look
Most of your thoughts are repeats of the thoughts you had yesterday, the week before, the last 10 years… and because they’re so habitual you don’t even realize you’re having them, or worse, that you are being affected by them.
Your automatic thoughts are your mind’s way of dealing with your past. On paper this is a great idea – solve the problems of the past so you can move past them. However, if your thinking is constrained by self-limiting beliefs (such as “I’m not worthy of love” or “I can never make ends meet” then your thought processes will also be constrained within those limitations. In short – no solution. Just like a dog chasing its tail!
Your mind generates thoughts as automatically as your breath! But when you become aware of your breath, you can control it, just like when you become aware of your thoughts, you can control them.
There are three ways to become aware of your dominant thoughts:
Listen: Imagine you are sitting at an outdoor cafe, people-watching. All kinds of people walk past you. They come into your awareness, and they pass by, and you forget about them because the next person has just come into view. It’s the same with watching your thoughts. Just as you don’t engage every passer-by in conversation, you don’t have to engage your thoughts. Simply watch them. Yes, this takes practice, but if you don’t become familiar with your 4-7 dominant thought patterns you will have a tough time creating positive change in those areas. One great way to do this is to say, “Next!” when a thought comes up, so that you avoid getting involved with it. Then just wait for the next thought to arrive, and shoo it along with “Next!”
Feel: Outside of meditation, you realistically won’t be paying much attention to your thoughts. You’re busy! So pay attention to your feelings instead. Thoughts generate feelings so whenever you notice a negative emotion, take note of what you were thinking. Most likely it’s an automatic thought centered around some self-limiting belief!
Look: As hard as it can be sometimes, take a good objective look at your life.
Are you constantly finding yourself in the same unwanted situations?
Are you always feeling the need to blame someone/something for your misery?
Are you successful, financially stable, healthy, in a great relationship and happy?
Do you feel fulfilled, or empty? Do you feel stuck in a bad situation because you’re terrified of the unknown?
Are you achieving your goals or letting them quietly slip away?
When you identify your areas of challenge in your life, you can start to work backwards and identify the thoughts that got you where you are. And don’t take this exercise personally – meaning, not as a hit against you, but as a powerful and helpful lesson!