The Paradox of Positive Thinking

We read a lot these days that our thoughts create our reality. I believe that. But I also believe that the positive thinking concept has got it a little backwards.

Our thoughts are born of feelings. They flow from where we’re at, a silent dialogue of the emotion that birthed them.

Moments of peace create peaceful thoughts, moments of joy, joyful imaginings and moments of anguish naturally give way to darker wanderings of mind.

Trying to change the natural flow of this dialogue while you’re amongst it is like standing in the rain and affirming that it’s sunny. It is wholly unauthentic to where you’re at.

Maybe, instead of pushing to think positively we should allow our minds to quiet for a moment instead. We should take a walk outside or a hot shower or drink a warm cup of tea and just breathe. Maybe we should meditate and watch our breath and let our feelings ease.

It’s from that place of ease that we come back to ourselves. We come back to the best of us, the place where we think better because our feelings naturally create the dialogue we were pushing for.

From that place of ease we can choose our thoughts authentically, or just explore where clarity takes them. This is allowing, and all you need is that moment of silence within yourself to make it happen.

Positive thinking naturally evolves from positive feelings. So next time you feel down take a breath – don’t struggle to get away from where you are. Just ease into a better feeling place however works for you… and see where that takes you.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Maintaining the Mind

We are where we are, for the most part, due to choices, and for the rest often due to energy and intention. That’s not to say that experiences don’t come into our lives for a reason, that there isn’t learning to be found in them, but it is ultimately our own perception that unwraps the present.

My focus at the moment is maintaining my mind, but like most of us my attempts at sabotage are impressive.  Perhaps at our core we are both order and chaos. It is the order that encourages meditation, reflection and peace, and the chaos that seeks to sustain itself, so convinces us otherwise, with tiredness, procrastination, and all the ‘busy’ we surround ourselves with.

Things have been hectic lately. Possibly more so than usual or possibly the same, I might just be unwrapping it differently. Ultimately I am only ever in this moment, and more often than not this moment feels good. It’s all the other moments I keep jumping to that trip me up and stop me noticing the present before me.

I realize that the solution to this is meditation – it’s training my mind to drown out the noise of all the ‘stuff’ and focus. That focus can be on what I want, on the idea of the greater good, or even just on the fullness of the moment.

When I do this I find clarity, joy and an immense amount of perspective. It’s not that the puzzle falls into place so much as I realize that it was never out of place to begin with. It doesn’t have to take long, five or ten minutes once or twice a day even. It’s pretty impressive that such a tiny investment of time can have such great returns, proven returns even, with numerous studies and even quantum physics affirming that our thoughts and intentions shape our reality.

But how many of us actually do it?

More often than not we externalize. We maintain our houses, our cars, our finances, our jobs, our families, our pets, our bodies – but how many of us honestly can say that we invest the time to maintain our minds and spirits – the greatest influencers of our experience?

I read an analogy once about teaching children give and take. It suggested having two jars half filled with marbles. When you did something kind for them, you would place one of your marbles in their jar, and when they did something kind for you they would do the opposite. If either jar became empty there was no more to give. I like that. It’s a visual way of showing that we need to take care of each other.

Maybe we need to do it for ourselves too.

Giving doesn’t need to take away from us, doing something for another doesn’t need to drain us, and intense times in our lives don’t need to stress us. But they often do – because if we’re not putting anything back we’re prone to losing our marbles ;)

We are physical beings, and that’s good, but we’re more than that too.

Today, I’m going to nurture the ‘more’. I’m going to maintain my mind.

Today I’m going to take that ten minutes twice a day for me. I’m going to take it back from the internet, the television or the hamster wheel of thoughts that might otherwise be in its place.

I’m not going to let tiredness be an excuse, because rest is so much more restorative when I’m at peace.

I’m going to remember that there are many ways to give, and that my joy, like other’s, is infectious. I can give more to those around me when my jar is full – and I have the ability to fill it.

In doing this I will be more aware of this mind that I’m maintaining. I will naturally use words that are kind, and unwrap the world before me with the perspective of the present.

I don’t need to do anything fancy to make this happen. I don’t need to lose myself in techniques and how-to’s, I just need to reclaim that little bit of time and be aware of my breath, be aware of the now, and hold onto a positive feeing. My only goal in that time is to silence the ‘stuff’ and connect to that ‘something greater’. Some call it God, some call it their higher selves, and some just call it their subconscious. It doesn’t matter what I call it and it doesn’t even matter if some of the ‘stuff’ gets through the silence. It matters that I’m there. It matters that I’m choosing my highest good in that moment.

I deserve this today, and tomorrow too. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I’m going to do it a bit at a time, because that’s the way that things usually get done.

I might try to talk myself out of it again, to sabotage it with tiredness or busyness or ‘stuff’, but that’s ok, because I’m going to come back to this.

 Today I’m going to remember not to lose my marbles.

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This is my mandala

Some days feel like madness, but they’re not.

The same clothes, washed and hung, to be folded and dirtied again. The dishes that were scrubbed earlier covered in food, soaking in the sink again. The floor, just vacuumed, collecting dust and dirt from hurried footsteps, begging to be cleaned again. The children that were just so freshly washed, now dirty and giggling as their faces are wiped again.

It looks like a hamster wheel, my day, the endless repetition of chores. But it’s not.

It’s my mandala.

Buddhists believe that change is the only constant in life. That you can only be truly present in this moment by understanding its fleetingness. They call it impermanence.

They symbolize it by creating mandalas – intricate patterns of coloured sand that consume their time and focus. Then they take that finished product, that breathtaking creation, and they destroy it.  

Much like my children do to my clean house.

Sometimes we need to find meaning in our actions, we need to remind ourselves why the mundane can be grand. We need to be here, be present, whatever our task is for today.

We need to make this moment our meditation.

The beauty of my mandala is my children’s smiles. The intricacies of it are the nuances of my family that only I can tend to. The symbolism of it is love – crazy, messy, beautiful love. And the fact that I will wake tomorrow and do it all again is my impermanence.

Your mandala might be different to mine. It might be your work that never seems to get finished, or your goals that are constantly pursued. But by being present in its creation you make it your meditation – and it is beautiful indeed.