Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses
By Eve Delunas
Back in the 1960's, a famous psychologist named Fritz Perls used to say, "Lose your mind and come to your senses." It is only in recent years that I understand the profound wisdom inherent in that message. I now know the most important step we can take in our spiritual evolution is to stop identifying with our minds, so we may align with our Spiritual Essence.
When we "lose our minds" we do, indeed, come to our senses. The present moment of our lives becomes infinitely richer and more satisfying. We are able to access deep peace and inner stillness, even amidst chaos and confusion. We feel more connected to our inner guidance, as we inhabit a clear space within us, uncluttered by thought, in which abundant insight and creative inspiration are easily received.
What does it mean to stop identifying with your mind? First, it means you recognize that you are not your mind. As Eckhart Tolle says, you are like the sun, while your mind is like the flame of a candle. Your mind is a valuable tool for you to use, but it is not who you are.
Second, it means you stop allowing your mind to run the show. Left to its own devices, your mind will keep you busy 24/7 with its incessant thinking. Most thoughts are useless distractions from the one thing that really matters - the present moment. When we take back control of our minds, we get to decide how and where to direct our own attention, and we can choose to engage our minds when it is helpful to do so.
Third, it means you stop practicing spellbound thinking. Spellbound thinking is one way your mind maintains control of your thoughts, and activates your negative emotions. As I write in 'Breaking the Spell of the Past,' spellbound thinking is:
- repetitive, automatic, and self-hypnotic;
- negative, judgmental, and catastrophic; and
- focused on regretting the past or worrying about the future.
Chances are you have been thinking the same spellbound thoughts for ten, twenty, or even thirty years. These limiting thoughts first emerge in childhood when we experience unpleasant or traumatic events. By the time we are adults, thinking the same self-defeating thoughts has become a bad habit.
Isn't it time to stop playing messages in your head like, "I will never be good enough," "No-one can be trusted," or "I don't deserve to be happy," because of something that happened years ago? Spellbound thoughts will only stop when YOU press the off button! They are useless, and only keep you from enjoying your life TODAY!
How can you stop identifying with your mind? Here are the steps:
- Begin by watching for the following three signs of spellbound thinking:
Sign #1: You feel terrible. Generally, if you start to feel bad, your mind just fed you a spellbound thought. You may feel guilty, fearful, anxious, sad, angry, resentful, or just uneasy. These thoughts are so habitual that we sometimes aren't even aware we are thinking them. Your negative emotions are your best signal that spellbound thinking is going on, whether you have been consciously aware of it or not.
Sign #2: You are dwelling on something that happened in the past that bothers you. It is likely to be the same incident or series of incidents that your mind revisits on a regular basis.
Sign #3: You are worrying about some future event. Worry is catastrophic thinking - imagining the worst possible outcome to a current or future situation. Our minds tend to excel at catastrophic thinking.
- Once you recognize that you are engaging in spellbound thinking, consciously and deliberately BRING YOUR ATTENTION BACK TO THE PRESENT MOMENT. There is not a lot for your mind to do in the present moment, which is why your mind is so fond of keeping you stuck in the past or dwelling on the future. Each time you bring your attention back to the Now, you align with who you really are - your Greater Self.
- Be vigilant and willing to bring your attention back to the Now, again and again. Your mind is clever and tricky. It will look for new ways to capture your attention and regain control. It knows how to hook you. It will assure you that it is only trying to help you to make you a better person. It will warn that without your spellbound thinking, you will be hurt, make a fool of yourself, or become a terrible failure. Paradoxically, those things are most likely to happen to you while you are under the spell of your negative mind!
- Be gentle with yourself. It is important to refrain from criticizing or judging yourself during this process, for that is just the mind sneaking in the back door. In fact, each time your catch yourself engaging in a spellbound thought and you manage to refocus your attention to the Now, there is much to celebrate, for you are choosing the path of awakened consciousness.
Eve Delunas, Ph.D., psychotherapist, author, speaker, trainer, offers proven strategies to help you rise above your limitations and soar. "Breaking the Spell of the Past" is a book and guided visualization CD set.