"It's mind over matter."
"Make up your mind."
"Oh, never mind."
Think about how frequently the word mind enters our daily conversations. Our minds are an integral part of our three-part being: mind, body and spirit. We often associate the mind with our head, thoughts, and logic, though our minds are simply data banks of memories and impressions -- a virtual scrapbook of thoughts and experiences.
Our minds are powerful and play three very different roles in our daily lives:
The mind is a powerful and complex teacher.
It reminds us when we've forgotten facts or figures and helps us through a challenging problem. It causes us to stop and think when we need to make a decision and it uses our previous experiences as reference in order to make better choices. It keeps a record of everything we've ever thought, said, and done and uses memory to bring us the gift of contrast.
Our mind works with our feelings and sends us signals that something might be awry and we need to pay attention. It is the reflective and supportive adviser -- helping us weigh the pros and cons about changing our Internet service provider or modifying our diet and exercise. It's with us every day, every hour, every minute and it doesn't like to be shut off. But once in a while it will allow us to be away from it... maybe for a minute or an hour... and then when we reunite it's like plugging back in and booting up the computer. Class is back in session.
The mind is a powerful and complex creature.
It creeps around and waits for the opportunity to jump out and scare us, or it catches us by surprise when we're not looking. It lurks around dark corners with a mirror and attempts to make us look into it and judge our appearance.
Our mind has a voice recorder that plays back every negative word that every person has said to us, preying on our fears like a sliver we can't remove. It keeps us up worrying at night and gives us a headache in the morning. The mind never stops running and we're tired of the chase. Sometimes we'd rather kick it out of the house. It makes us conform when we've been scolded and causes us to feel ashamed for who we are. It can be our worst enemy. And if we spend too much time focusing on what it is constantly saying, it can make us feel crazy and out of control.
The mind is a powerful and complex companion.
It wishes us happy birthday and reminds us where we parked the car in the parking lot. It's there to provide a history of everything we've ever thought, said, and done, and then uses our success to re-mind us about how far we've come. It plays back the recordings of anyone who has ever thanked us, praised us, or shouted our name as we raced toward the finish line. It allows us to take a moment to pause and reflect upon a fond memory triggered by a beautiful song or the smell of freshly baked cookies.
Our mind is there to calm us in crisis or speak a kind word to a friend in need. It's our constant friend, confidant, and partner. And it always answers when we call. It's there to motivate, encourage, and inspire us and it acts as the coach urging us to hang in there and "just keep swimming." It reminds us that it's okay to make mistakes and it forgives us every time -- no exception. It loves and accepts us as we are. It is our best friend and our family. It holds us when we are alone and reminds us that everything will be okay.
Question: Is your mind playing the role of the teacher, creature, or companion today? Depending on the situation, it could be playing the role of one or all three. How often do you listen to the Teacher? Creature? Companion?
We may not be able to shut off the chatter of our mind, but we can remember that it's our choice to pay attention to the mind that makes us feel best. Whichever thoughts we focus on become the loudest. And when our minds are working for us in a positive and supportive way, we can bring better alignment and balance to our lives.
Read more about the mind, body, and spirit in 21 Days to Better Balance, or another book in Michael's collection at michaelsunnarborg.com/books.