Through my Mindfulness practice I have come to really see how my mind is the lens through which I experience life. Whatever we think is our reality, however we don't always realise the importance of fully understanding this. When we start to be totally aware of what our mind is doing, we can see how distorted it can be.
What I have come to accept is that I can turn a good situation into a bad one just through my thoughts. I can turn a loving, kind person into my enemy, through my negative thoughts. I can be angry for no reason, except that my mind said there was a reason. Mindfulness has taught me that I am at the mercy of my mind unless I learn how to tame this wild animal.
Of course I am also guided by the great Buddhist teachings after all what Buddha taught is mind training.
"The Mind is everything. What you think you become" - Buddha
Knowing that our mind is the lens through which we experience life is both good and bad news. It means we are in charge of how we perceive everything in our life. We can change it just from the way we interpret any given experience. The bad thing about that is, we now have to take full responsibility for everything, no more blaming outside entities!
Does this mean that there are no "bad" experiences or that we should sugar coat everything so we deny pain and suffering? Certainly not, it's this very thing that creates our suffering, pretending things are not as they are doesn't change anything.
One thing that really gave me a wake up call was when my marriage ended. It was the first time that I actually became aware of how quick the mind could change. It took a second to change from seeing my ex-husband as the "good" guy to seeing him as an enemy. That's how powerful our mind is, it only takes a second to change our mind if we are hurt or threatened.
Every minute of the day we change how we see a particular person just from what they say to us or how they behave. One minute we are crazy in love because everything is going our way, then we hate the very same person because they did something we didn't want. That person hasn't changed, they are still the same but our mind has made up a story to convince us differently.
How many times do you make up your mind about someone you see? You quickly judge a stranger, based on their clothes, colour, gender and a whole set of other labels. They can instantly be a threat, until they smile at you and suddenly your mind tells you, no they are nice after all.
The mind is it's own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven - John Milton
How true is this? Our mind can make our life heaven or hell, how many states of mind do you go through in one day? I know that my mind changes in an instant. I can be as calm as a still stream in the morning until I get in the car and someone cuts me up, then suddenly the world is an ugly place.
So here's the thing, Mindfulness teaches us to catch that thought before it goes off on one, before it takes control and leads us into muddy waters. Mindfulness teaches us to Stop - Breath - And take a step back.
Do you know anyone who is constantly angry, or that can't see good thing in anyone else? Perhaps you see it in yourself? Now you are aware of the power of the mind, you know you are also able to change. And Mindfulness can provide the path for this change.
Change your mind - Change your life