If you think about it for a minute, you will realize that the only thing that we can truly control (it comes with a lot of practice) is our mind and perception.
Our mind can either be an amazing tool in helping us create a fulfilling vibrant life or the worst inner enemy that we struggle with on a daily basis.
It can be a control junkie with negative thinking patterns. Always scavenging for bad news, gossip, procrastinating, and obsessing over the longest to-do list.
Or it can be an internal cheerleader who readily reframes mishaps into lessons, fills your heart with gratitude and compassion, gets inspired by the success of others and reminds you to take breaks and appreciate being as much as doing.
How does your mind behave?
Last Fall when I went to visit one of my girlfriends in Berkshires (where we will be holding an Ayurvedic detox retreat this spring. Stay tuned for details) I had a very unpleasant encounter with my mind. After a hike to the waterfall and a long meditation it suddenly became clear to me that my mind is trying to kill my body and the feminine side of me. I realized for the first time that I didn’t know how to use my mind as an instrument in my life and that my mind took over my life.
It was quite a stunning realization for someone who grew up with a notion that your mind is your greatest asset.
Here is what became clear to me: the ambitious goal-driven knowledge-filled mind if not kept in check will quickly drive you to the point of fatigue, lack of play, joy, and space in your life. Nothing is enough for the insatiable untrained mind. No time is good enough for the mind to step back and let you rest and just be. You do everything through the prism of your mind. Your heart is pushed back and you forget how to listen to its wisdom and intuition. You become successful but miss on the beauty of life, relationships and passion.
I got a bit scared of my powerful mind and spent the next 6 months activating the power of my heart and training the mind to be more easy-going. It was quite a journey!
A lot of my teacher’s teachings came back to me in a different light and it became easier to practice living from the understanding that we are not our body, not our mind or emotions. If we can observe it, we are not it.
So if you can observe your mind and the contents of your mind, you have the freedom of choice when it comes to impulses, fears, pressures, belief systems. This is how we can gain freedom from the conditioning, patterns of self-sabotage, and negative thinking.
You are responsible for the contents of your mind. It’s a fascinating topic that I explored during the 2 hour class for the Ayurveda Association of Russia – the Ayurveda and the Psychology of Transformation.
But using our mind is not that easy.
One of my close friends once called her mind an asshole.
Another friend reminded me that the mind is a wonderful servant but a horrible master.
What is your mind to you? Have you ever thought of a possibility to train and control the contents of your mind?
One of the best people to discuss this topic with is Dr Robert Svoboda
Recently we recorded an interview: Creating Self-Awareness with the Power of Prana
The sound quality is not great at times but starting at 18:00 Dr Svoboda really dives into the topic of the mind, our senses, and attention. I highly recommend it.
- Why is it hard for us to stick to what we know our body truly needs to thrive? Why can’t we keep our promises to ourselves and engage in self-sabotage?
- After watching your Prana course I had an insight: it seems that it is really had for someone to break an old habit, or create a new one if the person doesn’t have enough Prana or doesn’t know how to direct it. Is that true? Is it easier to change when we have enough Prana? Does it help with discipline?
- In our modern world our attention is usually directed outside: lots of screens, information, sources of stimulation. As a result we move away from our center and disconnect from our body, live in our head. How does that effect our Prana? Why being in this state it is hard to stick to creating new healthy habits or not giving into the old patterns? How do we learn to direct Prana in more constructive ways?
- Morning practice: people wake up and reach for the phone to check email and social media. If I understand correctly, can just this seemingly innocent habit create an unhealthy flow of Prana from the start of the day? How will that effect our ability to do what we know is best for us?
- What does Dr Robert Svoboda’s morning routine look like?
- Can we learn to create a sense of satisfaction and eat and work from that state? How would it look like?
Dr. Robert Svoboda is the first Westerner ever to graduate from a college of Ayurveda and be licensed to practice Ayurveda in India. During and after his formal Ayurvedic training he was tutored in Ayurveda, Yoga, Jyotish, Tantra and other forms of classical Indian lore by his mentor, the Aghori Vimalananda. He is the author of twelve books including Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution and the Aghora series, which discusses his experiences with his mentor.
Dr. Svoboda was born in Texas in 1953, and in 1972 earned a B.S. from the University of Oklahoma in Chemistry with a minor in French. After being ritually initiated into the Pokot tribe of northern Kenya as its first white member in June 1973 he moved to India, where he lived receiving his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (Ayurvedacharya) from the University of Poona in 1980. In his final year of study at the Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya he won all but one of the University of Poona’s awards for academic excellence in Ayurveda, including the Ram Narayan Sharma Gold Medal.
He also served as Adjunct Faculty at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and at Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA.