Exult! Solutions

Undefining Evolution

Positive thinking begins with positive feelings

– Rukmini Iyer

(published at http://rukmini.blogspot.com/)

While we’re inundated with advice (“why don’t you start thinking positively…”), suggestions (“try to be positive to achieve your goals…”), even warnings (“beware of negative thoughts, they often manifest easily…”) on positive thinking, very often, we struggle with the output. In fact, more often than not, we struggle with the input. So here are some musings on the concept of thought energy and its manifestations.

First things first, there’s no point in denying thoughts, even if they are so-called negative. The idea behind the human form is experience – energy experiencing itself, God experiencing God – and so all aspects of experience need to be embraced regardless of how we label it in the human realm. Judgements are the prerogative of the human social form. Where we come from, there is no judgement. Energy simply is. Where we come from is the space that propels our lungs to breathe. Where we come from is the force that makes our knees go weak when we fall in love. Where we come from is the power that senses the presence of those that are not physically present with us.

So one might argue, if the negative does not exist, why would we have a label for it? The labels are tool for us to understand feelings that offer different types of experiences. And so acts, thoughts and feelings that lend us a pleasant experience (pleasing to the human body and intelligence, primarily) are termed positive. The ones that make us feel uncomfortable are labelled negative. The presence of negative helps us understand the positive.

At a practical level, when we talk of using ‘positive’ thoughts for creating our lives, what we mean is we want to create experiences that we individually and collectively deem pleasant. So can we simply begin by using affirmations, thoughts, visualisations, etc. to the effect? That may be one part of the process. But remember, all these are created by that impish thing between our ears called the brain, that can intelligently help us cheat ourselves. So sometimes, we may not really believe in an outcome, or think it’s too unrealistic, and yet mentally rattle off affirmations and hope it comes true. Of course it does not. Because the wishes we chant are not in alignment with our true intent.

Intent is the womb of creation. It is the space that nurtures our thoughts. It is the bridge between energy and non-energy. It is the highway that leads us to ourselves, to God. Therefore, positive thought has to begin with positive intent. Else, the womb of creation simply rejects the foetus of thought. If the thought does not match the intent, the foetus cannot attach itself to the womb and therefore the outcome is aborted, no matter how much we try to feed the foetus using the brain as a mother.

How then, do we mind our intent? For intent is that fleeting moment when thought is born. We are barely aware of it. But we have checks and balances to know if the intent and thought are in alignment. Given that we are aware of our thoughts, let us use that as the instrument. When thought is in alignment with intent, there is no effort required to remind ourselves of it. The thought naturally transmutes itself into the measures required at the physical or mental level to manifest it into reality. There is no internal struggle. We do not need to push ourselves into doing anything.

When the thought is not the same as intent, we need to constantly remind ourselves of what we need to think. At a practical level, we feel unmotivated, lazy or uncomfortable and keep needing to convince ourselves to do what we need to, in order to fructify the thought. If this happens, it is time to stop pretending that we really intend what we are working towards.

Then the next question is, what do we do if this happens in the context of things that are socially desirable? For example, when we use ‘positive thinking’ to score well in an examination, or to get a promotion, or to get married? Our social conditioning may dictate that these are supposedly desirable, but do respect your existence as an individual. If the purpose of life was to live as a communal machine, we would be born physically linked to each other.  The universe is not flawed in its design. The fact that we are born as physically distinct individuals asserts that we need to use individuality as a tool for communal benefit. The cutting of the umbilical cord at birth is symbolic of the fact that we’re linked to others in spirit, but the moment we come into worldly existence, it is time to joyously express the distinct aspect of the One that we are. We gain these experiences separately, and then eventually merge back into the One, enriching the common pool of awareness.

So it does not matter whether what we want is desirable by our family or friends or well-wishers. Each of us is an inextricable part of the One, and we intrinsically know what we are here for. That’s why we have instinct, for it helps us access what we already know. Let instinct guide us to shape our intent. Then the thoughts and the actions that follow will naturally create value for self and others, regardless of the social judgements that may be passed against them. May our trust in our existence and its purpose be the beacon that leads us into creation.


July 2, 2011 Posted by | Authored by Rukmini Iyer | , , , , | Leave a comment

Penny for your thoughts!

– Rukmini Iyer

From the ancient philosopher Hermes to the modern film-maker Rhonda Byrne, several successful people have propounded that our thoughts are as important as our deeds. And that is because our thoughts are deeds in the making!

As children we are exhorted by our parents and teachers to imbibe good habits. These habits are usually practical in nature, ranging from keeping our rooms clean to finishing homework on time to brushing twice a day. We are told that these habits have an impact on our personalities and on how socially acceptable we are. Since the repercussions of these habits are obvious on our social lives and physical health, we usually do not question their importance.

But is that all there is to habits? For if it were only physical habits that were important, it would have been easy to create a society full of fairly disciplined, successful people. Here’s where thoughts make their grand entry. Habits refer to pattern of behaviour acquired through frequent repetition. Behaviour could be physical or mental. Therefore, mental habits are as important as physical ones.

For example, do you, before eating at a road-side joint, pray fervently that you should not get an upset stomach and end up with exactly that? Or do you dread that appraisal meeting with your boss so much that you have a splitting headache before it? If so, it’s time to watch your mental habits.

“I realized I kept thinking and calculating about many small things and events, often unnecessary, and became very critical,” confesses World Chess Federation rated player, coach and arbiter Hrishikesh Salvekar. His professional habits filtered into his thought process and he did not realize it for years, till it started affecting his social interactions. He explains, “Chess is an individual game directly related to using one’s intellect. Even when there are team events, it is the individual performance that matters. So your ego tends to develop without your conscious knowledge.”

Similarly, a lot of us who are in professions or activities that place a premium on certain skills find that those skills tend to impact our lives, often in a negative manner. Mental habits formed for coping with one’s profession such as strategizing, attention to detail, convincing people, etc. become so ingrained in our system that we tend to apply them in all spheres of life, whether they are relevant or not. And it is here that they can be detrimental.

For they not only affect our social relationships, but also our health. A host of psychosomatic ailments including stress, high blood pressure, headaches, etc. are caused when a physical illness or weakness combines with unhealthy mental patterns. Every thought pattern has an impact on our bodily fluids and functions and negative patterns weaken the body so that it becomes more vulnerable to diseases. Here’s a look at the effects of some of our mental habits on our organs, and the illnesses that we consequently expose ourselves to:

Detrimental mental habits and probable impact on health

Mental habits Area of impact Possible ailments
Suppressing anger and emotions such as frustration, rage, etc. Liver and kidneys Hyper-acidity
Undue anxiety about performance and situations in life Heart Stress, high blood pressure
Excessive fear of things beyond one’s control Joints Arthritis, joint pain
Feeling rejected and harbouring low self –esteem Brain Fever

It is important to note that ailments may be caused by purely physical reasons, too. But mental habits help them anchor to the body more easily. For example, the thought of fear instinctively makes us tighten our muscles and makes the joints stiff; this is a primordial reaction known to us since the Stone Age, when our body was the only means of our defence. Now, when we harbour fear for a long time, the body naturally goes into a stiff mode, and if coupled with a life-style that renders itself to joint-pains, leads to ailments such as chronic pains and arthritis. Simply put, unhealthy mental habits prepare a breeding ground in our body for illnesses.

So it is possible to change mental habits? The answer is Yes! Here’s how you can start:

Identify your mental habits

Observe your thought processes and reactions for a week and list the patterns that emerge. You may wish to enlist the perceptions of people that are close to you, in this process. Jagruti Gala, an educator who works with children in the area of holistic learning and conducts workshops on ‘Habits of the Mind’, shares her experience, “My mind resisted mundane work and ideas that I could not ‘enjoy’. But I realized that these activities are also crucial to take life forward and therefore I need to do them well.” In her case, Gala ensured that she arrested her habit well before it caused stress.

Chart a course of action

Once you have identified the mental habits that you wish to change, decide what you would wish to replace the negative habits with. And yes, it is possible to do this at any stage in life. “Healthy habits of the mind are very crucial to develop – they are the aim of all learning, the ultimate outcome. The earlier we start the better,” asserts Gala.

For example, if you have a habit of being critical about people, attempt to replace it with empathy. The next time a subordinate presents a report that you think is below par, instead of voicing your criticism, offer help. Ask him/her what inputs from your side could help the person do better. In this manner, you become more solution-oriented and constructive.

Set targets

It is a proven psychological truth that any behaviour practised for 21 days at a stretch becomes a habit. Set target dates and identify potential situations where you can demonstrate your new mental habits. Make it a point to journal those situations and your response to them. Do not lose heart if it is difficult to change your reflexes early on. Slowly, as the success stories in your journal increase, you will realize that Nike is true, after all – Impossible is nothing!

Tips and tricks

“I discovered that being focussed on the present moment without having the mind wander into the past or the future breaks its habit of generating useless thoughts. This helps to calm and focus the mind and my creativity, peace and positivity increases,” shares Gala.

Productive mental habits

  • Be open to new ideas – List all the things you did for the first time in life and were successful. Remind yourself of these success stories whenever you feel fear or anxiety. And you’ll feel that knot in your stomach loosening itself!
  • Give constructive feedback – Avoid holding back critical feedback, for it will stay lodged in your system if you do not express it. But learn to express it in a solution-oriented manner, where you shift the focus of your thoughts from being critical of a person to getting better results. You’ll not only regulate your own blood pressure, but also save others from stress.
  • Promote self-awareness – Be aware of your body. A dull pain or throb could give you timely clues about what to change in your life, before it becomes a full-blown disease. Remember, your body is the vehicle of your thoughts and it certainly knows what it carries.
  • Be accountable for your actions – Avoid being judgmental. It is perfectly human to go wrong at times. Rather than avoiding responsibility for one’s actions and rejecting an aspect of oneself in the process, own up your mistakes with the same flair with which you take credit for your success. Respect yourself for who you are, for that is the foundation of who you want to be.
  • Stay focussed on the present moment – Effective mental habits are all about being in the here and the now. Being aware of the present moment and of yourself in the present moment helps you make decisions that are pertinent and true to the reality. This helps you avoid reflexes that are pattern-bound and not always relevant.

So the next time you get frustrated or sad, remember, you can recreate the situation by simply shifting your habitual thoughts. The universal is mental – you are your imagination. Think healthy!

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Authored by Rukmini Iyer | , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: