While two people may be in the same circumstances, each one will experience those circumstances differently. This is because our experience of life is determined by the state of our mind. We cannot always change the events we face in life; however we can always change the mind state from which we view these events.
The good news is all states of mind have the same essential structure. The bad news is mind states contain the illusion they are all-encompassing. When you are in a particular state, especially those very uncomfortable dark mind states such as fear, frustration, guilt, and sorrow, it feels as if there is no other option from which to view the world.
A mind state’s structure causes everything you see to become a reflection of that mind state. When you are angry, the mind highlights all the things you come across that trigger anger for you and filters out everything else. So of course, you believe the world to be an angry place and you can show any reasonable person your proof with lots of examples, because that is your experience of it.
The reality is your mind state is no more permanent than the clothes you are wearing right now. Just as you can change your clothes, you can alter the filter through which you perceive the world. There’s a certain amount of energy required to take off one outfit and put on another; so expect to exert some effort when you change to a new mind state.
Before you can change your view, you first must become aware of your current mind state. This can be tricky, because of the hidden trap of mind states. Your ego craves continuity,
even when it is painful, so it hides the variations of our mind states from our
consciousness by creating the illusion that things have always been like this. Even our memories of prior moments are colored by the filter based on the current mind state, and this only strengthens the ego’s trap.
Just for this moment, take a leap of faith and examine your thought patterns and give your mind state a label. You might be thinking about the injustices of the world or how someone hurt you. You may call this mind state “Anger” or “Frustration” or “Sorrow.” For a moment, sit with this label and observe how it feels in your mind and body.
Now that you know where you are, you can move to a new state. Remember, this will take a bit of effort. However, you also know how uncomfortable your this mind state really is, so it is well worth the investment.
Focus on something in your current environment that appears beautiful to you. Or, if you cannot see any beauty from where you’re sitting, focus on one thing you are grateful for right now. It can be something as simple as the beauty of a certain color or as small as gratitude for being able to breathe.
This is the point where the ego begins to fight, so be prepared. Keep focusing on beauty or gratitude, no matter what your thoughts tell you. Sometimes the thoughts become very convincing as they try to keep you in that old mind state of anger or frustration or sorrow. Just for a few minutes, let those thoughts go. Return once again to the object of beauty or gratitude. Stay focused until you feel a shift within your mind.
Congratulations, you’ve proven to yourself that a mind state can be changed!
As you return to whatever tasks you have before you, notice how this state of beauty or gratitude feels in your body and mind. Perhaps you may even notice that everything looks bright and beautiful: you might call this mind state “happiness” or “peace.” Enjoy it and continue to watch your mind as you delve into your projects and interactions. Whenever your mind begins to slip into a downward spin, stop and pull it back up again. With practice, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to tip towards a higher view and you’ll no longer be caught by the hidden trap of mind states.
What things lift you into beauty? What are you grateful for right now?
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