I have written these Mental Exercises for Inner Peace as a self awareness tool, and as a guide to help people gain control over their minds when they have difficulty breaking out of the cycle of obsessive thinking.
Thoughts can locate in the body as physical and emotional reactions. Watch your thoughts and observe if they trigger any responses in you. If you notice that certain thoughts cause unpleasant sensations in your body take note of that. Tell yourself thinking that type of thought is not healthy and try not to allow yourself to think those thoughts in the future. It is up to you to make your thought processes as healthy as you can.
Examples of thoughts that can cause illness and unhappiness are:
- Thoughts self-pity.
- Thoughts of I am not good enough.
- Jealous thoughts.
- Envious thoughts.
- Thoughts about money and survival issues.
- Anxieties about your own health and the health of family members.
- Sympathetic thoughts. (You allow yourself to feel another person’s or animal’s pain, your emotions going out to them, causing you to lose your own center.)
- Thoughts and feelings of grief and sorrow.
- Dwelling on bad things that happened in the past.
- Blaming thoughts.
- Feelings of resentment and anger.
- Thoughts about relationships. Do I or do I not love someone? Do they or do they not love me?
- Craving thoughts. Agitating oneself to buy things.
- Feelings of dissatisfaction or lack of contentment with one’s life, place where one lives.
- Doubting thoughts (I did not do a good job. People will not like my performance). These types of thoughts disempower you and reduce your effectiveness in the world. They also waste emotional energy.
- Thoughts about the news, articles that you’ve read, books, movies, T.V. shows, etc. that have made an impression on you.
- Thoughts about what other people think about you.
- Thoughts about all the things you have to do.
- Obsessive thoughts.
- Fearful thoughts.
- Thoughts about food (that it is not good for you, that it will make you fat).
- Obsession about weight.
- Judgmental thoughts (looking for faults in what people do).
If you are self-observant, or train yourself to be, you will notice that in response to a thought you might flex your big toe, clench your teeth, tighten your neck or abdominal muscles, feel tension in your chest, contort your facial muscles, raise your eyebrows, alter your breathing rate, experience changes in your bowel movements, increase the frequency of urination, experience sleep disturbances, or sensations of fear and anxiety. This is solid proof that thoughts locate in the body and have health consequences.
All of the above thought categories can trigger feelings of anxiety. If they have become habitual thought patterns, they can lay down the groundwork for illness. Take note of the ones that cause the greatest distress, and work on them first.
When these thoughts rear their heads take an imaginary ax and cut them down at the root, bringing your mind back to stillness. With time you should be able to eliminate or at least minimize these troublesome thought categories, and the moments of mental stillness and calm should increase. These thoughts have had years to plant roots in the mind and it is a long-term process to weed them out. They are the source of our fears, anxieties, vices and illnesses.
There are various meditation techniques that have been developed to still the mind, such as quieting the breath and abdominal breathing, as well as visualization exercises, and sitting meditation. In addition to practicing formal sitting meditation, it is also valuable to regard your life as your laboratory, and practice non-thought formation as you are lying, sitting, driving and walking, and in all activities of your life.
Cultivate and guard the stillness you manage to attain from meditation as if it were a precious jewel. In time it will grow, and you will find that happiness, peace, contentment and wisdom reside within it.
There are many roads to health, but in the end they converge at the principle of purity and health of the mind. The Buddha was a spiritual teacher, but also a healer, he wanted to find the way to eliminate suffering and what he came up with was the Eightfold Path or the Middle Way: “Right view, right aim, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”
As a homeopath, I have come to the same list. The homeopathic remedies cure only if the will to health is there, and though they will stimulate the healing process, they will stop if too many errors of living or evils of the soul are not addressed by the individual. Greater than the power of the remedy is personal responsibility and the desire to grow and develop into the healthiest and happiest human being possible.
Remedies will carry you a long way toward health, but the refining process is a spiritual one involving making the mind, thought processes and emotions as healthy as possible. Meditation is the method for undertaking this refining process, and the will to health and happiness is the driver of the vehicle, good food and right living is the gasoline, and the remedy is the trustworthy mechanic.
When I first started studying homeopathy I thought that the remedies could do everything and that personal effort or responsibility was not that important. After years of observation I noticed that if the remedy encountered an obstacle such as an error in living like over studying, or an error in thinking such as obsessive thoughts or over attachment that one persisted in, the individual would relapse.
When a point was arrived at when the individual should take action to improve the situation, but did not do so, the remedy withheld its blessing, and this withholding until the person sees the light, is itself healing work. When the person puts forth an effort to correct these errors, the remedy resumes its work.
The meaning of this is that the individual has to take personal responsibility to become a healthier individual by making the necessary changes and adjustments in their lives. Going from illness to health is a transformation involving all facets of an individual’s life. It involves letting go of ways of being that stress the system, going beyond convention and questioning concepts that are taken for granted. It entails placing a greater value on the self than society and our conditioning tells us we should.
The following is a chart showing the difference between healthy and unhealthy ways of being and mental processes.