Are you making the difference you want to make with your life?
If not, you need to find out who or what is leading you.
Are you being led?
Your mind regulates your posture, breathing, body temperature, heart rate, and actually, all of your bodily functions.
But unmanaged, it also runs your relationships. In fact, unchecked, it will run your life completely in accordance with its unconscious conditioning and its particular perspective, which is your survival.
You might think your survival seems a good perspective for your mind to have, but its survival programming took place thousands of years ago when what was appropriate for your ancestors’ survival then, may not be as appropriate to you now in your work and personal life.
In your world today, for example, it might be advantageous for you, your community, and your personal progress, to speak out, but you prefer to remain silent. It might be appropriate for you to take actions beyond your comfort zone but, you decide not to. Perhaps you set ambitious goals and create strategies to achieve them but find that rather than pursue them, you are distracted yet again by the perennial ‘urgents’ in your life – your parental responsibilities, care of elderly relatives, paying your bills, doing the shopping, home maintenance etc.
In fact, if you didn’t have this relentless stream of ‘urgents’ to deal with, you might get to some of your ‘importants’ and make the difference you want to make with your life, but you never seem to achieve it.
If you are finding that the life you want is eluding you and that you are living a shadow life, or that you are experiencing repetitive negative life patterns such as always being poor; procrastinating, no good in relationships, and never quite making it, it is likely that your mind is running you, rather than you running it.
Your mind is a poor master
Unmanaged, your mind will run you and your body according to its beliefs, based on its perceptions of your past experiences.
For example, if you were laughed at or teased when younger for speaking out in the playground or in the classroom when you thought you were safe, you may now experience having to overcome a fear of public speaking, or making presentations.
Or when pursuing important career objectives, your mind will cite wrong circumstances to prevent you from stepping out and risking yourself. Your circumstances won’t be ‘right’. If only you had the right circumstances, you would be successful. Let’s wait for the right circumstances. Or you will get a sudden cold that prevents you from stepping up.
You experience these negative patterns because your mind is keeping you in its comfort zone and leading you and your life in a way that you have not consciously chosen. Your mind is using you and actually, you are being inauthentic – not true to who you really are.
But an excellent servant
Your mind is a poor master but an excellent servant - if you manage it properly. You can use it to pursue the life that you actually want to lead but you have first, to be aware of where it’s taking you and manage that. Then, take the actions it identifies for you to achieve your objectives.
Your mind also enables you to envision your desired future; identify your objectives; configure your life to achieve them; choose the best actions to take and will urge you to take them. This is much more helpful for you than when it is quietly urging you not to take action.
But unless you want it to task itself and use you, you have to task it and use it. This is the essence of Self-Mastery.
Self-Mastery is the key to the life you want
Self-Mastery is the state of being true to your Self; free to use your mind rather than your mind using you. This is what’s required:
First, commit to yourself that you will do what you came here to do rather than be at the effect of life and its circumstances. You will seek to fulfil your life’s purpose. You commit to dis-cover your purpose and deliver it to others, for the greater good. Your gifts are for others.
Next, be aware continually of your mind at work - the thoughts it offers to you, and through them, the direction it tries to take you. Be aware that it will attempt relentlessly to distract you from your purpose with seductive thoughts, typically things that shine or complaints about others or your circumstances. So this step is about constant vigilance of your mind’s thoughts and where they are taking you - including negative patterns arising in your life.
Thirdly, recognise that the thoughts in your head are not who you are. You are the awareness in which those thoughts occur, have always occurred, and will always occur. You may have noticed that that awareness hasn’t changed all your life. You as awareness remain intact whatever the state of your body. Awareness is eternal and being eternal its operating software is not survival but is service, or love in action. That is who you are and, if you wish to be authentic, some sort of service is your purpose.
Finally, be aware that the thoughts in your head can be transcended and a different perception envisioned. Your thoughts are just your mind’s perception, and therefore its presentation to you of how life is. Perception, such as the presentation you awaken to each morning is not actually how it is. It is just the perception your mind chooses to present you with, although we perceive it as real.
Once you are aware of and observing your mind’s thinking, you can begin to escape its tyranny by identifying negative thoughts and life patterns as they arise and transcending them. You don’t actually have to deal with them, just use your mind or engage it to create the life to which you are called, and the life that matters to you. It will then produce thoughts commensurate with that.
In the absence of you actively engaging your mind, your mind will engage you in living a small, busy but safe life. In other words, either you have your thoughts or your thoughts have you. This is emotional intelligence - the ability to manage yourself and your relationships with others, and without it you are at the whim of your circumstances and of others. With it, however, you can create the life you want and attract those who seek that quality about you too.
You have only one person to lead. Lead that person to fulfil your (and our) destiny.
By Christopher Jones-Warner
Recommended further reading:
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
Awareness - Anthony de Mello
The Little Book of Big Change - Amy Johnson PhD.