Have you ever seen a dog walking its owner? You know, the kind of dog who pulls its owner by its own leash, taking him where it wants to go and how fast it wants to get there? The owner helplessly runs after the dog, desperately holding on to the leash.
This is exactly what happens to us. Our senses, desires, attachments, expectations and other mental hang-ups drag us into fear, worries, anger, excitement and anxiety.
The mind is the instrument with which we take in, process and interact with the world. But, right now, this instrument has taken control over us.
We may be able to forcibly subdue the mind for some time, but to actually win over it requires patience and the right strategies.
Here are two powerful ways…
Nip it in the bud
The biggest reason why the mind overpowers us is simply because we let it. All too often, a thought arises and we immediately believe it, agree with it, and take action on it.
That would be okay if thoughts were always true. But most of our thoughts are not facts, unique or new. They are simply a re-play of past thoughts and emotional reactions—mere habits we ourselves have cultivated.
For example, once I was in a long line of cars waiting to turn at a very busy traffic intersection. Suddenly, someone cut into my lane when I was a little slow to follow the car ahead of me. I immediately reacted with an angry, ”How dare he!” and honked my horn loudly.
There was hardly any time between the thought, “That car has cut into my lane”, the rise of anger, and the loud words and honking.
Now, was it necessary for me to react in this way? There is no denying that the other driver was wrong, but what’s the point of getting angry and honking? It did not help me move any faster or make the driver of the other car move out of the turning lane. It only agitated me and disturbed my peace of mind.
Instead, I could have paused for a moment and calmly accepted the scenario.
Our emotional reactions, fears, deprecating self-talk, etc., are past habits. They don’t reflect our higher knowledge, or our true selves.
When these negativities arise, we instantly accept them without questioning. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, we need to be alert and nip them in the bud. In other words—catch them when they first show up. Then, we could pause for a moment to think before deciding our response.
The simple act of stopping to think changes our actions from mere re-actions to conscious responses. This prevents us from being carried away with every passing thought in the mind.
To steer your thoughts in the direction of inner peace, read Devalue your Thoughts.
Surrender to the divine
The mind generates many negative thoughts that need to be thrown out.
Surrendering them in prayer is a powerful way to help us get rid of deep-seated patterns that are detrimental to our health, relationships and life.
Invoke the remembrance of God or the divine in any form you can relate to. Then surrender the anger, frustration, jealousy, hate and all other such negativities.
To surrender, you could say, “For you, O Lord.” or, “I surrender (or release) this you.” You will be surprised to see how this simple act will bring a sense of calm.
Now, you may feel uncomfortable giving up your negativities to the divine. But you need not feel this way. The Divine is omnipotent has the capacity to take away all your negativities and fill you with love, faith and peace.
It’s like going to the beach with a small teaspoon of salt, and feeling bad about pouring it out in the ocean. The ocean is full of salt! Your small teaspoonful will make absolutely no difference.
Being alert to notice the negative thoughts and then surrendering them to the divine are two effective and powerful ways to purify and win over mind.
These two steps are easy if we remember this simple formula: Catch—Throw.
Then, we will not get dragged into wrong trains of self-defeating thoughts like the helpless dog owner running after his playful dog.
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