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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Agapite o Filo Mou - Making Your Mind Your Beloved Friend - Part 3

Scratching the Record - Carpe Diem

What do you do when the thoughts, images, memories, and painful experiences invade your peace of mind?  You've got to interrupt them right when they happen, you've got to scratch the record, and replace it with a thought that empowers you, enlivens you, enriches you, and makes you feel good about who you are.  So, for instance, you have a disquieting thought, you pass by a place that reminds you of a person or an event from your past, at that moment, you will either get caught up in the maelstrom of the toxic emotions and feelings associated from your past, or you can choose to replace that thought from your bliss list.

How to create your bliss list
  • Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write at the top of the page 'My Bliss List'.  Make sure when you do this, there are no distractions, it's quiet and peaceful, and allow yourself the time to really sink into the deepest part of yourself so that you can hear what makes your soul sing.  Meditating for 20 minutes before you do this is highly recommended.
  • Write down 100 things which brings you joy.  You want to discover within you what it is that connects you to your bliss.  Ideally, you want to list as many things as possible which are not dependent on anyone or any thing to give it to you.  It is a feeling that comes from within whenever you see something, hear something, do something, smell something, taste something, or feel something.  Activate all your senses and feelings.  Examples might be:
    • walking in nature
    • seeing an eagle soaring in the sky
    • watching the sunrise over a beautiful mountain lake
    • eating a juicy peach
    • smelling a rose
    • snowflakes on my skin
    • the sun on my face
    • the sound of the waves of the ocean
    • driving a motorcycle
    • riding a horse  
    • writing
  • Your bliss list can involve another person or persons, say for instance, you love long, slow, wet deep kisses, or you love spending time with friends, or going to a football game with your brother, or a baby's laugh, having some of those are great!  Without question there are many joyful experiences you have with others, and they can be included, but I want you to emphasize finding the things which give you joy which you do only for the joy of it.  This list in not about them, it is about you.
  • Once you have composed your list, read it over, make sure you are satisfied with it (you will know this because it makes you feel good inside, it makes you feel happy to read it), then, make copies of it so you will have it in various places for you to refer to when needed.  A great place to put one is in your car.  Another great place is in your office.          

The exercise in creating the bliss list is a way for you to connect with what truly gives you joy without being dependent on anyone else. The purpose behind it is to give you a tool to help you interrupt the pattern of disquieting and disturbing thoughts and memories which intrude upon your daily life.  When a negative, painful thought or memory comes in, you go to this list right away.  You want to scratch the record of the unconscious program operating your life with new thoughts to pick you back up again.  These thoughts from your bliss list will pull you out of the painful remembrance of the past, even if it's just for a moment, and by doing this consciously and consistently, with time, you will begin to break the pattern of painful memories controlling your life and destroying your peace of mind.  

Whenever I was being tortured by the thoughts, memories, images, and painful experiences of my past, I would go to this list right away and say to myself, 'This too shall pass, this too shall pass..' over and over again while I thought of one thing which brought me joy: the smell of a flower, the sun rising over the mountains, an ice cream sundae, the flight of an eagle – whatever it was, I found the thought which brought me joy, which made me feel good about me, which made me smile, and I would immediately replace the disquieting thought.  Sometimes I would only feel better for a brief moment, and then I would get sucked back down into the pain I was experiencing, but I kept doing it, and as time went on, the episodes where my mind was attacking me from all sides began to lose its power and strength over me.  Eventually, these negative thoughts lost all their power because I could connect to what brought me my bliss immediately and that feeling negated and cancelled out the negative thought.  This one tool helped me tremendously!  By consciously doing this mental work with my bliss list everyday, combined with the other tools I had created for myself in my program, I had successfully re-programmed my unconscious mind.  I was no longer at the mercy of the pain and suffering I had experienced as a consequence of the PTSD and trauma I'd been through.  I knew what my joy was, and nothing could keep me from connecting to that joy.

By doing this consistently, you are breaking the pattern which has now become unconscious, which is the recycling of all this old thinking and feeling, and you are replacing it with something that is you, defined by you.  The more you do this, the more space you will create, and the more you will connect to who you really are.  It is a process, and as with any process, it grows with consistency, dedication, and commitment.  It's like building muscles.  It may seem tedious, it may seem like its not working, but nevertheless, you still go to the gym to workout.  After a while, you begin to notice how your muscles have changed as a result of consistently working them out.  They are bigger, stronger, and leaner.  Well, this same idea applies to working out your thoughts.  You've got to go to the 'mental gym' on a daily basis and feed yourself with the thoughts and feelings that will give you the healthy results you are looking for.  Your bliss list is part of your mental workout, a tool you can use to exercise your mind and make it strong.

You've got to do this with smells too.  You've got to remind yourself, ‘OK, that smell reminds me of this, that gunshot smell reminds me of that place I was in in Iraq or Afghanistan, and what I've got to do is think of a smell that I enjoy, that pleases me.’  You've got to do it right then, something that makes you feel good, something that makes you feel happy, whether it’s the smell of a rose, or the smell of the mountains by the lake catching fish, or the smell of the exhaust of your 1940 Coupe – whatever it is, you want to bring that image, that memory, that feeling, that smell back so that you are interrupting the pattern.  And you want to do it consistently, over and over and over again.  It seems tedious in the beginning, and you may find resistance to it, but you are establishing a new pattern, you are introducing a new software program to replace the old one in the hardware computer which is your brain; you are systematically and consciously breaking the habit of getting caught up in those negative, debilitating, toxic thought forms which are causing you so much pain.  

You are not your past.  This present moment does not have to be defined by your past.  You have the power within you to define what this present moment will be for you.  This moment is, and will always be, defined by you.  Seize the day!

"Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour."  -Walt Whitman