"You can not stop the waves, but you can learn to surf," Jon Kabat-Zinn
Our thoughts ruin our lives
Why is it impossible for some of us to find inner peace? We all aspire to be optimistic, zen, serene … In short: HAPPY! And yet, we are constantly anxious, stressed, disappointed, etc.
We are actually victims of our mind, controlled by our negative thoughts. We must not underestimate the impact of these thoughts that condition our approach to life.
There are the worried ones, those who live in the future, anxious about what could happen (and if? And Si?). There are those who self-flog, constantly comparing themselves to others; perfectionists, constantly disappointed or discouraged; those who take things personally and who react immediately to "self-defense" (defensive, aggressive …) while no one attacks! The pessimists, who seek problems before they arise …
What this reveals is that many of us "live in their heads", and are victims of their negative thoughts. And again, it is these negative thoughts that will condition their relationship to others, to themselves and their relationship to life, quite simply.
What does this show us? Quite simply, that we are not present, we are not living in the present moment.
Take the example of fear: when we are afraid that something will happen, it means that our mind is not in the present moment, but in the future. The fear of what could happen is a projection of the mind, because in reality, nothing happens in the future, everything happens in the present.
Because our spirit brings us back to the past, transports us into the future and away from the present moment, we also miss out on many things. For lack of attention for example, or because we have difficulty concentrating, our mind wanders …
How then to free oneself from the tyranny of thoughts?
It is high time to take control of our thoughts. But how ?
The way we can free ourselves from our thoughts is to make sure we are in the present moment, a notion at the center of mindfulness. The masters of mindfulness teach us that we must dissociate ourselves from our minds by posing as observers. Observe our thoughts, without judging them. Being in the present moment so that neither the past (regrets, nostalgia etc.), nor the future (anxiety, fear) have any influence on our emotions.
This is explained Eckart Tolle, author of Power of Now (The Power of the Present Moment). We must stop identifying with our minds because we are not our thoughts!
The American professor, mindfulness specialist, Jon Kabat-Zinn explains in his book Mindfulness For Beginners (Mindfulness for Beginners), that we are not obliged to believe our thoughts and especially, that we should not "take them personally". He uses a particularly relevant metaphor: he compares them to soap bubbles, which "explode" when touched. If we transpose this idea we understand that the same goes for our thoughts: they "explode" or disappear, when we are "in consciousness" (hear aware of what is happening).
If we are indeed aware of what is going on in our minds and take our thoughts for what they are, they lose their power over us. And that's how we free ourselves from it. This is the key: we have the power to stop this incessant monologue, "this noise in our head". We take power and as a result, this "noise" loses his. This is how we can free ourselves from "this fiction of our mind". No, thoughts are not reality!
Happiness is a state of mind that is cultivated
One of the differences between happy and unhappy people is in everyday mental habits.
So start the day with the ritual of gratitude, asking yourself the following question: what are the 5 things for which I am grateful ? Name them. By starting the day with these positive elements, we condition our spirit, we "take the lead" in some way.
This will not prevent your negative thoughts from showing up, but when you are assaulted by them, just observe them, and possibly spot recurring mechanisms without judgment. Then accept them.
A key element indeed is acceptance : whether good or bad thoughts, we must accept them. It is when we try to resist that we go into pain. In short, resistance = suffering. It is therefore a matter of establishing a healthy relationship with your thoughts, which are, it must be remembered, only a mental construct. So, ready for the transformation?
Adopt a stoic attitude
Mindfulness, yoga, altruism, stoicism, as many philosophies or fashionable practices to find the grail that is happiness!
In stoicism, " happiness means independence from external circumstances and detachment from things ". Why would we waste our energies to get excited in a traffic jam for example, when it is an event over which we have no control (an element "from outside", according to Marc-Aurèle)?
Learning patience and adopting stoicism will allow us to focus our attention on "something else," another "positive" thing. This philosophy helps to achieve inner peace and is one of the ingredients of happiness. Not given to all, I agree!
This philosophy will be of great help in many situations, the most concrete and the most diverse. Take the case of poker: we will agree that there is no more mental game, a game in which to stay focused, maintain a constant attention, is essential. Imagine that many players testify that patience and stoicism are for them the best techniques in poker!
Ditto, when queuing at the supermarket: you have been there for 10 minutes, it does not move forward, you lose patience, you get upset. But what does it change? Try this exercise: accept the situation with stoicism and your experience will be very different!
Better understand his failures
The same goes for our failures. Let us take them with resignation and follow again, the precepts of Marcus Aurelius: there are things that we control, others that do not depend on us. Stop this inner speech that depreciates you and adopt Churchill's famous doctrine: " Success is going from chess to chess without ever losing enthusiasm Or that of Pema Chodron: " Fail, fail again, fail better ".
Let's work to develop a positive state of mind, gradually integrating mental habits that will benefit us and change our lives!
Finally, inner peace
In conclusion, we have the power to decide what we focus our attention on, the power to control our thoughts to become master of our mind. And more than a punctual practice, it is a way of life a big step towards what you aspire to: inner peace.
"You can not be both unhappy and in the present moment" – Eckart Tolle