How Controlling Your Thoughts Helps Reframe Your Actions
The journey to find my turning point began with an introduction to a healer. While I thought his primary focus was to help me heal from the initial shock and grief of my personal tragedy, his true impact was much more profound and long-lasting. Our initial meetings centered around three messages:
1. Live a life filled with love and compassion;
2. Love all and serve all; and
3. Everything that happens in the world starts with a thought.
As a funny aside, I very much enjoyed teaching these messages to my three boys, aged 13, 12, and 9. As brothers are prone to being brothers, I reminded them that we should love and serve everyone, not love and serve some people – which they were more prone to do!
The Importance of Slowing Down
The healer, Francis, taught me how to see and live life in slow motion. He first introduced me to exercises that centered me in the present moment, and he followed that up showing me how to control my primary thoughts and directing them in positive, peaceful directions.
I relate it to how professional athletes often talk about seeing the game slow down as they approach mastery of their craft. Or to use another sports-related example, I recall a basketball coach instructing players on the foul line to think “Make the free throw” instead of “Don’t miss the free throw.”
Set the Stage for Self-Awareness
With this new awareness, I realized that my mind would be off to the races soon after waking up each morning. And I mean immediately off to the races sometimes while just lying in bed! I would be thinking about a million things, having many conversations with different people about different topics, at the same time.
I joked that it felt like I was the captain of my own speech and debate team! But all that increased mental activity felt slightly at odds with Francis’ lessons about slowing down. If my mind was racing, was I really being present in the moment?
The first book Francis suggested I read was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a practical guide to personal freedom, as it offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. In it, the author reveals how a near-death experience changed the author’s life, and he began an intensive practice of self-inquiry.
What are the Four Agreements?
As I mentioned in my last blog, the journey to self-awareness does not have to begin with a tragedy or crisis. Instead, the path to becoming a better person who is more present to themselves, their families, and their employees begins when by realizing how self-limiting beliefs first rob and then create needless suffering in one’s own life. And by implementing The Four Agreements, you can step beyond those belief into a more fully actualized life.
#1 Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
#2 Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
#3 Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
#4 Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Embrace the Process
Living life in slow motion required consistent work. So, every morning when I woke, I spent time reading and re-reading The Four Agreements. Towards the end of this morning time, I prayed to my Higher Power asking for the courage, wisdom, and awareness to guide my thoughts, words, and actions to be in alignment. The ultimate goal was to carry those four principles with me throughout the day, using them as a guide for interactions with my sons, my work colleagues, and my friends.
Nothing about my journey to self-awareness was a quick fix. I failed often and brilliantly! But my eyes, mind, and heart were open to a new way of being, and I was determined to continue down this path.
Do you think your life and business dealings will be improved by being more present more frequently? Would you like to slow your mind so you can see and live life in slow motion? Could you find value in controlling your primary thoughts so they are more positive and peaceful? I want to help you bring your goals for both internal and external growth into greater alignment to the improvement of your entire life.