Mindset is such a powerful force in our life that we may not even realize what it actually does for us. Our mindset is essentially the program we’ve adjusted to experience our life and create our reality. The ‘Garbage in – Garbage out’ concept applies very much to our mindset. If we have a poor and crappy state of mind, then our results will follow in the same manner. While a healthy mindset can expand the boundaries of what is possible to achieve.
Start with our Core Beliefs
In order to understand how our mindset gets shaped, we have to closely look at our beliefs, especially our core foundational beliefs. Any time we examine our beliefs the best questions to ask are, “What do I strongly believe in?”, “What is the most important concept or running theme that makes me tick?”, “If I had one message to pass on to my 3-year old niece, what would it be?”. By asking these types of questions, we can begin to decipher what lies at our core.
For most of us, we’ll come up with roughly a half-dozen to a dozen core values that our life revolves around. If we haven’t ever thought about this, then it’s certainly not a bad idea as being clear on who we are helps carve a direction for the life we lead. Otherwise we’ll very much be like a wind vane turning and pointing to whichever direction the wind is blowing the strongest.
The beliefs at our core truly provide a firm structure with which to live our life. Values such as Honesty, Selflessness, Compassion or even Greed, Violence and Hatred can be programs that create our life experiences. Our values create our mindset and our mindset is the program that is operating on a conscious level throughout our daily lives.
To really simplify this concept, the programs we set are very much like the settings we have on our washing machines. We have a separate program for Cottons, Linens, Delicates, Whites, Mixed Load, Speed Cycle, etc… Depending on the program we choose our washing machine is going to follow that pattern. In the same way, when we allow ourselves to define what is important to us and set our program accordingly, then our brains will take those set of beliefs and run with them throughout the day.
So one can see that if we keep our priorities on Compassion or Peace, then our daily existence will process each situation through the lens of compassion or peace. Likewise, if Greed is the dominant program in our mindset, then each action and experience will be processed under that set of programming.
This almost reminds me of a Pandora Playlist. If you’re not familiar with Pandora, it’s an online music site which selects and plays songs continuously to our choosing. When I first started with Pandora, I created a Trance channel and in doing so, Pandora asked me what genre of music do I want to create as ‘seeds’ for my playlist. So of course, I chose Trance/Chillout, vocal trance and then a few specific songs that fit that profile. Pandora would then provide me music and play songs that were closest to my interests that I selected. I began to hear and listen to artists and songs that I had never heard of, but liked them because they were very similar to the music I enjoyed. Another great feature was that as a user, we are allowed to tailor and deny or reject any song or artist that we didn’t like so Pandora would remember never to play that again or stick to music that was more closer to my liking.
After only a few weeks of listening, I had such a set and defined program of music by accepting and denying the music I liked and disliked that 90% of the music that Pandora played on my Trance channel was stuff that I enjoyed.
The point here is not to laud the service of Pandora, but rather to show that our minds and our programming can work in a similar fashion. The beliefs that we enjoy and serve us can be accepted while the thoughts or beliefs that don’t serve us can be removed from our programming. Similar to Pandora, our core beliefs are our ‘seeds’ and define what is most important to us, and what type of experiences we seek.
Get to Know Who We Are
The way in which we can bring awesome experiences into our lives is to consciously set our program. Truly understand what it is that makes us tick. If we’ve never thought about our core beliefs, then we’re missing out on the experiences that we have the power to create. By simply bringing our conscious attention to the beliefs that matter most to us, it will aid us tremendously in making decisions and choosing what we want in life.
Take for example the idea of Honesty. If we decide that this value or belief is of utmost importance, then any situation we come across in our life can be experienced through the lens of honesty. Say for instance, we go to the supermarket and upon paying the cashier, we’re given a $10 bill for change rather than $1, then with the programming of Honesty, it’s a very easy decision to make and give back the $10 bill. Meanwhile, if we’re not so clear on a particular belief, then we’ll literally have a dialogue in our mind as to ‘What should I do?’ We may even convince ourselves of taking the extra money and pocketing it. Yet having a clear concept won’t even allow a single thought in the other direction.
This works with any core belief or value we keep. If it’s the value of Oneness, then we’ll see each being as a Divine extension of ourselves. If we program ourselves with a victim mindset, then we’ll see that each experience we go through we’ll place blame and responsibility of our poor condition on other people, the Govt, or even just the situation it self.
In essence, the more strong and powerful our beliefs, the more strength we’ll see flow into our life. The more clear and defined our mindset is, the easier it is to carve through life with making decisions. At the end of the day, empowerment is really just holding the keys to our life in our hand. When we consciously set our beliefs and move through life in a purposeful way, there is no greater and better feeling than knowing that we are the Creators of our Reality.
If we’re feeling weak, frustrated or even powerless, then seek to find clarity on what it is that we want in life. The more clear and defined we are on our values, the more we’ll find ourselves in an empowered state of being. The more we’re empowered, the more we’ll live a life of depth and satisfaction. Start at our core and work our way outwards!
In December 2013, my husband and I went on a 3 week SAS voyage that began in the Atlantic Ocean and journeyed to Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. At that time, I was five months pregnant and not only was I carrying a little peanut in my belly, but I was also carrying a lot of suffering in my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed early morning loving-kindness meditation with our on-board monk Bhante Sujatha, evening yoga on the ship deck, practicing knitting, learning about lucid dreaming and connecting with like minded deeply spiritual people. There was something about being on the water that had an intense cleansing effect on me. All of these events and interactions caused a strong inner revolution because of which all my past hurt, ego and expectations were rising to the surface. It was definitely a turbulent time, but I secretly knew that it was the perfect moment for me to go through a much needed inner transformation.
On one of the warm and sunny days in the Pacific Ocean, I pondered on my goals for 2014. Before deciding on the things that I wanted to accomplish in the New Year, I focused on a few aspects of my life that I didn’t want to carry forward in 2014. In a letter addressed to the Universe, I wrote my purge list on a piece of paper and when I was done, I wrapped a rock in it and threw it away in the ocean. I prayed to the Universe for bringing alignment in my life and freeing me up from any suffering. It’s been 2 years since then and the Universe hasn’t taken a single break from bringing a continuous alignment in my life.
The key aspects of my spiritual cleansing process, aka things that I didn’t want to carry forward in life, are:
1. Selfishness - Living in this country alone for the last 10 years had made me overprotective and vigilant of guarding my own interests. The good and bad experiences that I had gone through, the hurt and loneliness that I had faced and the lack of friends and family - all of these factors gave birth to selfish thoughts which involved - “what is in there for me”. While I was a fairly selfless person since the beginning, I was not 100% there yet. My decision of cleaning my mind space by freeing my thoughts from any selfish motive provided purity in my intentions. This step was also critical because all my life I felt passionately about being in service to others. This is my truth at the deepest core of my being, which I had known since I was a little kid. Aligning my thoughts with my truth had a potential of unlocking my higher self, which was so eager to come out and bring out my natural gifts to so many people around me.
2. Transactional Nature of Relationships - I have worked in extremely competitive jobs in top blue chip companies. I have been one of the top performers throughout the years and enjoyed taking on the toughest challenges along the way. In business roles, I have been appreciated for being a hustler and getting things done in a crunched timeline. I am trained to develop a strong point of view, to the extent of having judgments, on a variety of topics and communicating them in the loudest voice to a room full of people. I had been encouraged to think of the corporate setting as a big race where my task is to be # 1 by competing with everyone else. Wow, doesn’t it sound like the perfect attitude for a Type-A person who’d like to excel and be a winner? Absolutely NOT! This is a recipe for a disaster. Even though I could claim the title of a top performer and score promotions, at the end of the day, I felt like a complete failure.
I finally realized how wrong I was. I realized that my work relationships were shallow and transactional in nature and I desperately needed to stop that. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't mean to people at all. I was sweet and polite, however, the underlying intention of my interactions had been always related to collaboration at work. I realized that I needed to genuinely invest myself in people and relationships around me. No matter how busy I am, a shortage of time couldn’t be an excuse to not let my guard down and allow others in. There is no big race; we are on this earth to enjoy this journey together. My goal was to let go of the transactional intention by which I pursue professional relationships and open my heart to people around me.
3. Expectations: when I look back at all the hurt and pain I suffered in my life, I realize that it wasn’t people’s actions, but my expectations and reactions that caused me all the pain and agony. To break this cycle, I needed to forgive people, heal my pain and transform my emotions into compassion and kindness. I also vowed to keep my own expectations and judgments to zero so that I could enjoy selfless relationships with people.
Two years ago, my heart was filled with emotions of loneliness, shallowness, poverty and incompleteness. I was trapped within the walls of a guarded heart desperately looking to rescue myself. My heart was filled with hurt and pain and there was only so much more I could take on. I felt like a bird trapped in a cage, when I was meant to fly and break free. I was eager to experience true freedom, liberation and lightness. There were many more aspects of my personality that I wanted to purge. However, this starter list felt good at that time and helped me in initiating the momentum for much needed spiritual alignment. I have continued this practice even in the present, wherein, I take a stock of my emotions on a regular basis and purge what doesn't serve me right.
Food for Thought: which aspect of your personality doesn't always allow you to be completely at peace? Are you ready to purge it?
Photo source: http://www.spiritualdoctors.nl/meditations.html