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Do you use your mind or does it use you?

Twenty Breath Challenge
The nature of the ego mind is such that it likes to be busy. Busy with judgements, criticisms and comparisons.

It likes to label people and situations. It loves to have an opinion. This part of the mind also enjoys re-running old movies, and rehearsing possible futures, sadly usually in the negative.

If you could step back just for 5 minutes and observe your mind at play, you would be likely to observe that you’re thinking about the future, what you’ll do later on, what you might eat, or drink, the friends you’re going to meet up with.

This means that you’re mentally in the future, and that’s where your energy is flowing.

Next you might recognise that you’re trawling your past. When you think about the comment your colleague made to you earlier or when you re-run the conversation you had with your partner last night, last week or even 10 years ago, you are effectively leaking energy, by being in the past.

The incessant moving of the mind from future to past, which takes us away from the now, fragments energy.

In your 5 minute observation of the mind you might recognise some of these thoughts…

  • When the kids are at nursery, at school, at college then I will…
  • When I get that job, that car, that house, that boyfriend…
  • When I’m better, thinner, living there…

And maybe some of these demand thoughts are familiar…

  • I should be doing/having, by now be…
  • It’s not enough, it’s not right yet.

When we’re thinking in this way, what we’re really saying is, right here, right now, this thing is not enough. Or I am not enough. RUBBISH! YOU ARE ENOUGH AS YOU ARE.

Read that again and repeat `I AM ENOUGH’

The crazy reality is, this is it!

This is what you’ve got right now and this is who you are at this moment in time. Constantly wanting something else or to be better or different can only bring unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Acceptance of what is, is the key to feeling more peace and joy with yourself and your life. How do we do that? Practise, practise being happy with what you have.

You’ve probably heard about developing an attitude of gratitude. Stop and look around you now. Just mentally label all the things you have in life to be grateful for. Your health. Your home. Your friends. A blue sky. The rain…

Gratitude

Abraham Lincoln said ‘You’re about as happy as you choose to be’

If you’re never in the moment, embracing who you are right now, what you have and where you are in your life at this particular time, then don’t kid yourself that it will all be okay when you arrive.

I’ve spent years working on my own personal development and coaching others to set goals in order to achieve their desired outcomes and I think it’s important to go for things that you want in life. So I would say, know what you want and set your goals. Then practise being here now.

As a yoga teacher I am only too aware of the necessity to be present and embrace our current reality. In order to cope with the harsh blows that life can deal us, we need strategies to ground ourselves in the moment.

I constantly coach students and clients to be present by staying connected to, and aware of, breathing. Our breath is the most amazing guide and teacher to how we are. On average and based on 12 breaths per minute, we take approximately 17’280 a day! We don’t have to think about it. Breath breathes itself through us.

How many of those breaths are we consciously aware of? 9’000, 2’000, 500? Nope probably not as many as 10!

So here’s my challenge.

For one week aim to be fully, conscious of taking 20 complete breaths a day. Breath in, pause, breath out, pause, that’s one breath. 20 a day.

Do it on the train, in the car, at the shops, walking down the road. Train yourself to be here now and make good use of your mind rather than being a slave to where it wants to take you.

Main Image: Steve Harris

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