A quiet mind – sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Noisy people, traffic, the electronic distractions of smartphones, headsets, computer screens, smart speakers, etc., added to your incessant inner chatter, make you long for peace and quiet.
Turns out, a quiet mind doesn’t just feel good – it’s good for you. The evidence is compelling. A restful state of mind reduces stress and anxiety, enhances brain function, promotes cardiac health, and improves your overall wellbeing. The research has been done primarily on reaching mental quiet through a technique or practice such as meditation or mindfulness. While these are very helpful strategies, what if you could find quiet without a technique or daily practice?
Rather than trying to coax an already busy mind into a quiet state, why not eliminate what un-quiets your mind in the first place?
A great deal of the thinking you do is unnecessary and unproductive. The reason for this is a pervasive misunderstanding about how your mind actually works. Your mind works only one way, crafting the reality you see from the inside – out. Only, it doesn’t look like it works this way.
It appears as if your stress, bother, upset, anxiety, frustration are coming from your circumstances, other people, your spouse/children, your boss, the traffic, the list goes on. Interestingly, you often attribute your positive feelings to external factors as well. But your mind can’t work this way. The only source of experience is your thinking in the moment. Without thought, there can be no experience. And there is nothing in the external world that can make you think about it in a certain way.
Something profound happens when you see the inside–out nature of reality for a fact. All the outside–in misunderstanding-thinking falls away. Why keep thinking something that is not true?
It is the outside–in illusion that robs you of your mental quiet.
When you realize in the moment what is happening inside your mind, your mind returns to quiet. We say returns to quiet because, in it’s most natural state, your mind is quiet, like a pond is quiet unless you disturb it.
Realizing something is different from knowing it intellectually. When realization or insight happens, you embody knowledge, allowing you to see life in an entirely new way. Sounds like a big deal, and it is. But your mind is designed to have insights, you have been having them your entire life.
To insightfully see in the moment, that your feelings and your experience is being created within your mind via thought, is an unconditional and immediate path to a quiet mind.
It can seem complicated, but it’s really very simple. When you find yourself in the present moment, a whole world of spiritual nourishment opens to you. We have all experienced this – when you’re on a long vacation, working out, being with your child, making pottery – suddenly, you find yourself IN THE MOMENT. Time slows down. You have a sense of presence. Often, you are filled with a feeling of well-being – of ‘all’s right with the world.’ And often new thinking and spiritual insights present themselves to you.
The present moment, and the spiritual nourishment it provides, is always available. It’s just that your mind is often too busy to experience it. We all need the mental rest and refreshment, as well as the deep sense of connection and purposefulness, that you find there.
The Three Principles, and the Single Paradigm they reveal, give you the understanding and the map you need to find your way back to the present moment. Every time you get caught up in your thinking, and then REALIZE that you’re feeling your thinking in the moment, and not whatever events and circumstances are happening in your life without the mediation of thought, you find yourself back in the present moment. Your mind clears itself of all the thinking you don’t need, and the world of the present becomes available to you once again. That’s where you find the spiritual nourishment you need for your heart and soul.
When I first started working with Paula, she was a multi-tasker who used to start out strong at the beginning of the day, but by lunch time her mind was a muddle. After receiving coaching and gaining the benefits of understanding the intelligent design of the way our minds work, she was able to maintain her mental clarity throughout the day. The result was that Paula took her company from a net 5% loss to a 29% profit in one year.
Now, however, Paula was in a situation that she didn’t know how to handle. One of the factories that manufacture her clothing line had been shut down due to flooding. Thousands of orders had to be put on hold. She didn’t have the cash flow to keep the company going until the problem got straightened out.
Paula was in a financial crisis that threatened the survival of her business. She felt panicked, discouraged – even hopeless. This happens to all of us at times – it’s not like you can control your reactions to challenges even when you understand the role that Thought plays in your experience. When there’s a real crisis like this one, it can stop looking like our feelings are coming from thought. But the mind always works the same way – no exceptions.
As we talked, it became apparent to Paula that, while the financial issues she was facing with her company were real, her thinking in the moment was still the only source of her feelings about the situation. She realized that her feelings of panic and stress fluctuated throughout the day, even though the crisis remained the same. Paula even realized that she had moments of light heartedness, like when she was with her daughter, or had a positive encounter with someone at work. Nothing had changed about her financial crisis, and yet her feelings were completely different. What had changed? Her thinking in the moment.
As she remembered where her experience was actually coming from, Paula calmed down. She realized, once again, that if thought in the moment is really the only causal link to her feelings, her panic had to be thought-created, not crisis-created. With her new found mental calm and well being, she began to have a trickle of common sense about how to handle the situation – she became responsive, rather than reactive. She remembered that there was another factory that she had considered hiring to manufacture clothing as her business expanded. She managed to get a short term contract with them to supply the clothes at a reduced rate until her financial crisis was resolved. They were thrilled to have the business and Paula was able to meet her customer orders. The unexpected bonus was that with this added factory she was able to expand her business ahead of her projected time schedule, and increase revenues by an additional 23%!
What brought about the turning point? “Remembering that even my experience of a financial crisis was being generated by thought in the moment,” Paula said. “As my mind settled down, the creativity that I needed to meet the challenge emerged. And then the challenge turned out to be an unexpected opportunity!”
I’m running a webinar series on Resiliency in the Workplace for a group of leaders in Florida. One of the participants asked: ‘What is it about the spiritual nature of the principles that is helpful to people’?
I can’t say that I have the answer to this question. Principles are infinite in their implications (how they work and how they don’t work) as well as their applications (ways that they are useful in life). What people gain from them can be as varied as there are people to learn about them. But here’s one idea that was offered by one of the participants from the webinar series: because principles are consistent and constant, knowing about the psycho/spiritual principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought gives you a feeling of always having a place to come home to. There’s comfort in that. I can add that as you continue to look there, and experience the benefits of re-connecting with that sense of ‘home’ – feelings of psychological security and safety, as well as mental calm and well-being – it becomes second nature to know that, no matter how far from home you stray – how anxious, insecure or stressed out – you know from experience that psychological safety and security are just a thought away. This is one of the many ways that the spiritual nature of the Three Principles is helpful to you. It’s simply a question of remembering that they’re there and aligning yourself with them.
It surprises me sometimes how many people think that in order to be productive you have to have a busy mind. Most people know that a busy mind causes stress, and that stress is not only the leading cause of disease, but it leads to a loss of mental clarity. In fact, research now shows that mental stress literally lowers your IQ. How can you be productive when your IQ goes down and you lose your mental clarity?
While yoga and meditation help you let go of the mental habits that cause stress, most people find that the mental calm they experience from such activities only lasts a short while.
The good news is that there is a way to achieve and sustain mental presence without the use of techniques. I teach individuals, couples and leaders about a new paradigm that removes a fundamental misunderstanding about how the mind works. Incredibly, the simple removal of this misunderstanding is allowing countless people around the globe begin to lead lives from a state of mental presence that is sustainable.
Mental presence is the antidote to stress. As a leader, it allows you to connect better with your teams and workforce, create trust, communicate effectively, and have high functioning teams. It gives you the mental clarity you need to get good ideas and insights to evolve your business. And all the energy that gets freed up from not coping with ongoing stress is energy you can use to be productive.