How To Help the Mind To Soar
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
― Carl Gustav Jung
A deflated mind seems to operate like a car on neutral. It's on but going nowhere. We all get into these modes. The trick is to get out of this gear. Let's explore some simple questions we can ask ourselves to get going.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- “What is wrong with this moment?” A lot of our dullness comes from being bored or scared or restless. If you look for what are the dominant thoughts in your mind at that time they would tend to be either about the past or the future. Both these states are not real. They technically don’t exist. The only thing that you can be sure of is the NOW. Bring yourself back into the now and ask yourself: What is wrong with this moment? Is your life in danger? Are you being chased by a hungry lion? Are you dying? If not, your moment is perfect. It’s all you have. The moment you bring your attention to the present moment you will feel more alert. It will remove the haze from your mind. The mind will focus on what is in your present. to help you make this shift back to the present- just focus on your breath for a few seconds. Count yourself inhale 5 times and exhale 5 times. You have brought yourself back to the now.
- “Who can I help?” This is another great prompt for the mind to get out of your own egoic head. This shifts the focus onto serving someone who needs you more than you need yourself. It makes you tap the generous gene in you. It makes you want to give vs the egoic mind that wants to take attention. Once you find that thing or the person who you can help- do it. It does not have to be a big deal. Just make that cup of tea for your partner; call your mum; call that friend who is suffering. This interaction will make you see the value you add to the world. The mind can sometimes criticize us for not being any good. This thought and the action that follows it always makes you feel better for having acted on it.
- “Can I do this for 5 minutes?” It's hard to be motivated to act if you think you have a mountain to climb. But a few steps the mind will allow. Trick your passive mind to do whatever you are avoiding for 5 minutes. This gives you the momentum to escape the ego and submit your attention to the task. Break the task into tiny bits and they will soon turn into a mile of achievement and that will turn into a habit and then it will, in turn, become your new identity. As a writer, we all grudge the empty page. Just commit to filling it for 5 minutes…then see if you can go for another 5…soon you will not need that tag. The mind will find its own energy to continue.
- Promise yourself a treat after the task- “I will have that treat after I have done that job.” I am very eager to swim today but I know that I have to finish writing today. So my promise to myself is — the pool awaits after I finish this article. So far it is working like a treat. The words are jumping off the keyboard. The ideas are rushing through my fingers. It is just a way to ensure the mind has the reward linked to the action.
5. “Who can I do this with?” Sometimes we need some company to get going. Alone is boring or too hard. It could help to divide the task with someone or call someone who can help you do the thing you are avoiding. Accountability partners are a great asset. Not everyone can have one of those fairies at hand but when I write- I have Grammarly working with me helping me as I write. Google search and Youtube and the internet are great buddies to have as you try and unpick your way through a tedious task or a demotivated mind.
“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag
I am all for reading, planning, and preparing to get inspired. But then we must act.
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”
― William James
Find the thing that we know is going to help us feel more connected to our inner joy and then find the energy to turn the wish into a fluttering reality. A hot air balloon is a great metaphor that summarises the power of heated air to lift you to great adventures. Hot air is just air, heated. We already have the balloon(us). We just need to fill it with hot air (goals/ methods and actions) to get us off the ground. Imagine what amazing adventures await in the day if we can just give it a little heat of action…