Thoughts. We all have them. Most of them are the same as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow as well. So, just what in the world are you telling yourself? And more importantly, is it working for you? Do you like your life, exactly as it is? Or would you like to make some minor modifications? Perhaps even an overhaul in some areas? Well, it’s all possible and it’s all up to you.
Depending on the source, it’s estimated that each of us has between 20,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day. Yep, that’s quite a lot. Most of these pass by without any conscious consideration. And because of that about 80% or more are the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow.
These thought patterns rule your life and mold your life experience. These thought patterns are literally the story that you are telling yourself, whether or not you like your particular story (on an individual subject or on the whole).
The good news is that you can consciously choose a new story and, in time, greatly change your thoughts, thought patterns and ultimately your life in any way that you choose.
Breath work, meditation and intentionally choosing new thoughts.
Imagine a flowing river. Now imagine yourself in a raft, paddling down this flowing river. As the speed of the current increases, would it be easier or more difficult to control the raft as the river flows faster and faster and faster?
Of course it’s more difficult to control the raft in a rapidly flowing river than in a mild current. The same is true with your thoughts. Your breathing helps control the speed of your thoughts. And your intentional breath work (i.e. breathing exercises or Pranayama) is a great way of doing this on purpose.
Have you ever been excited or out of breath (or witnessed someone in this condition)? Thoughts are flying around in your (or their) head and it’s very difficult to gather these thoughts and make a cohesive sentence or communicate an important message.
Intentionally breathing a few times each day, helps quiet the mind and control the speed of your thoughts. This in turn, gives us more time and control to intentionally choose new thoughts. Easy.
Meditation is the practice of settling the mind so that you can achieve more subtle levels of thought and ultimately arrive at the Source of thought (notice the capitalization there – hint). Thoughts during meditation are normal and part of the process.
A basic form of meditation is to sit comfortably and close your eyes. With your eyes closed, focus on your breath. On your in-breath, focus your attention, on your in-breath. On your out-breath, focus your attention, on your out-breath. Let go of everything else. When you become aware that your attention has drifted to other thoughts or noises (which it most certainly will), gently come back to your breath.
Note: a meditation timer or App is highly recommended for this practice. When timing meditations, be sure to use a soft bell or other gentle sound to alert you when time is complete. Loud noises can be jarring and essentially defeats the purpose. Gently and gradually begin and end any meditation experience.
Related post: Meditation + Observation
Intentionally Choosing Your Thoughts
The world is your oyster, so the saying goes. You have the ability and responsibility to choose your own thoughts. A breathing practice and meditation practice offers you the foundation that makes choosing your own thoughts easy.
It’s actually really easy to choose your own thoughts. Write down a few intentions about your life and review them a few times a day. Keep it simple, light hearted and fun.
It can be as easy as:
- “I enjoy fulfilling work that keeps me engaged and pays me well.”
- “I am happy and healthy. I have many loving, meaningful and fun relationships.”
- “I am blessed with a beautiful home and a loving family.”
You decide. It’s all up to you. If those examples seem too far away from where you currently feel, simply craft an intention that feels natural for you. Just remember to revisit it often, at least once per month, and consider upgrading your intentions as you expand.
Related post: Flexibility and Adaptability
That’s it. Life really is simple and enjoyable. You have the ability and the responsibility for creating your own story. It can become an incredibly enjoyable process to craft your own tale and choose your own thoughts. Breathing, meditation and intention are three simple ways to get started.
What in the world are you telling yourself? Let us know, comment below!
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