The compass and sextant of my thoughts

I seem to have lost my way. There are times in my life when this happens. I want too much, I need too much. I want peomind3ple to love me and I don’t want to be poor. I grasp and I whine, you can never be too rich nor too thin. Scared of being such a failure, I just can’t seem to get my act together. My mind’s in a spin. Time is running out and my bucket list is full and unticked. I’m getting old, I look old and I just don’t have enough. What, oh what am I going to do?

“Have you lost your fucking mind?” SevenStones* looks at me from a corner of my subconscious. “What the hell are you thinking?” I am aware of his anger and frustration.

“I have lost my direction” my voice is hardly a whisper.

Put a compass on the ground and it will point north. Deep in the earth there is a mysterious force, driven by the planet’s gyrated movements through space and time. It is a force that keeps all living things safe from the callousness of the sun. The unseen and benevolent energy steered many a lost ship to a safe harbour and it can steer you. Silently SevenStones nods. Let the compass guide your course.

And then too the heavens have guided mariners and explorers across vast and uncharted seas and deserts. “Don’t only look down,” SevenStones advises, “look up. Bring your sextant and look to the havens, look up. Seek out the Southern Cross and Orion’s Belt. Find your North Star.” He looks me directly in the eye and continues “It is when you direct your heart and your mind in the same way as the universe, you will find your way. When you are aligned with your higher self and your life’s purpose, then you will find your happiness. That is when Real Magic happens.

“I know, I know” I look out to the horizon, dawn is breaking. I understand that true happiness does not depend on my wealth or health or any outside event. It is only with mental practice that I can summon that ability for unconditional joy most of the time. That is the Art of Happiness.

Ah yes, I can see my true direction is found not in idleness, but it is doing what I love. That is the pathway to greater meaning, happiness and a self of higher complexity. It is when I am in the Flow of things.mind5

I am feeling less anxious even though the words of SevenStones are sometimes stern and uncompromising. I know they are also gentle and loving. His voice is like a concerned parent. It comes to me that if I skilfully refine and improve the quality of my thoughts, I will have little to fear. My grasping and neediness, my self-pity and entitlement begins to evaporate as the morning light filters in. I can see it now. I bow to the Buddha, I have my compass and my sextant. “Are we good?” asks SevenStones.

“Yes we are good”

More to follow….

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How to go about thinking

mind2It seems so obvious, if you think bad thoughts then bad things happen. Stressful thoughts damaged my health as a young man. My grasping need to be successful, recognised and wealthy way beyond my ability resulted in an ulcer. Inability to accept myself for who I was made me sick. I did not acknowledge it then, but my mind took control of my body. Unfair tragedies, failure and bereavement wrapped around me as a wet blanket and the coldness of sadness seeped in. Untethered my mind plunged into depression. As I thought, so was my life.

It was recently, when I did enough reading on thought development, the fog seemed to clear and what was there all the time eventually showed itself. My mind is the orchestra and I am the conductor of my own symphony. The music is mine to make. If then, my thoughts have such powerful impact on destiny, I knew needed to become skilful in how to go about thinking. But where to start?

If I can only learn optimism, surely much of my misfortune will be confronted. Rather than run away, I could hopefully walk forward towards my struggle and pain. And so it was that Martin Seligman and his book on Learned Optimism came into my hand. For in truth, the cultivation of an optimistic mind-set significantly increases my chances of health, wealth and inner happiness.

“Go deeper” my restless mind was beginning to awaken and wanted more. It was now the turn of James Allen – As a Man Thinketh. An old book, to be sure – but no less relevant to my life today. From him I learned that I don’t attract what I want, but what I am. It is only by changing my thoughts that I can change my life. “There is more,” my mind pushed on.

Florence Shinn was the next great adviser – The Game of Life and How to Play it. This woman sounded more like a Baptist aunt, but her voice and her message is clear and unwavering. If I can only think of life as a game then I must be so motivated so as to apply the rules for my own success. “Very good” my mind clapped its hands in what seemed as joy. Inwardly I began to grow.

“Deeper still” insisted a quiet inner voice. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind is a book written by Joseph Murphy. For a while, then, I delved into the mysterious subterranean world that lay below the superficiality of consciousness. It is here, in the darkroom of hidden desire that dreams are developed and become a crisp picture. Be careful what you wish for, reads the sign hanging on the wall. Silently I nod at the admonishment and move onto the next book.

I recognise that my well-worn mental habits have dulled the experience of life. I resolved therefore to regain control of my thinking, and experience life anew. It was Ellen J. Langer’s book on Mindfulness that helped me here. Stop, pay attention – be here now.

Finally, I have come to realise that unless I can gain control of my rampant emotions any mental development is futile. A mind in the grip of anger’s turmoil, fearful and resentful cannot be tamed. An untamed mind cannot be trained. Where does one go to find such emotional intelligence? It was Daniel Goleman’s seminal work that gave me a glimpse of how to attain such self-mastery.

I look across the room and SevenStones, sitting in the shadows, stares back. “You have come a long way” he says and vanishes into the evening.

More to follow….

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