For the purpose of this article, I shall concentrate on conscious mind power, the kind we can make use of on a daily basis to make our lives more dynamic and rewarding.
Firstly, how to harness mind power? For that we need conscious awareness and choice.
This doesn't have to be formal. Anything which stills the mind and helps us connect to our inner selves counts as meditation. The more we relate to our higher wisdom, the better we can declutter the rubbish from our minds and the desires of our hearts. It's often said that our minds are like tape recorders running old, obsolete material that no longer serves us. Until we record over this and replace it with fresh content, we can't move forward.
The mind is powerful in both directions, positive and negative. If we keep dancing to the same old tune and that music happens to be toxic, our lives will follow suit.
You can meditate to music, a beautiful scene, a colour, a guide. All you need is to relax and feel the silence within. Insights will come and, hopefully, a sense of calm and peace. You can use this time to visualise a person, situation or object you desire. Visualisation is very powerful and is a wonderful way to harness mind power. By seeing yourself in a future scenario but feeling it as achieved, you bring the desired closer. Although using mind power is about focus and concentration, so is meditation and the latter is an effective way to practise these skills. Both need discipline.
The more in tune you are with your Higher self, the better you will manage your life in every area. Tuning into your intuition is vital for mental health and a happy life because your brain is full of faulty information and your emotions will lead you astray but your inner wisdom is always pure and right. If you sit quietly and ask, you will get answers. The mind is not your brain. The mind has many aspects and by trusting the instinctive messages you receive when meditating, you will feel the power you have at your disposal. The more you learn and practise, the more you will trust it and see proof of its positive impact on your life. The clearer your mind, the better will be your choices, feelings, decisions. The mind regulates your emotions as well. A lot of people don't know that. That's why they say they can't help how they feel. Actually, we can decide how we want to feel and how we want to react to that feeling. Surely knowing why we do things is crucial - our conscious choice - rather than lurching from one self defeating act to another. Wayne Dyer says this about meditation:"Meditation is a way of coming to know Oneness. Meditation is done in silence, and in silence that's the only part of you that can't be divided."
Positive statements to affirm the life we want are a very powerful tool because they literally change our minds. Decide which area of your life is not working for you then write yourself an affirmation that you can use as a mantra. Say it faithfully without judgement or expectation and results will begin to show in your tangible reality. A lot of people give up after saying an affirmation for a week or two because nothing appears to be changing but that's where faith comes in.
Before we can understand how to use affirmations to effect positive change in our lives, we need to grasp the role of conditioning and the mind's power. Right from when we first come into the world and start to operate as part of a family, initially and then in the wider society, we absorb words, attitudes, ideas, thoughts, feelings and energies from all around us. Sad to say, many of these will be negative as we live in a fear-based society. Many of our well worn adages are created from a fear of lack and loss, such as "Money doesn't grow on trees", or "Waste not, want not." I'm not saying these proverbs aren't true, but they engender negative ideas which form our sense of reality. This early conditioning stays with us all through our lives and just think about how many social ills can be traced back to these beliefs - racism, sexism, ageism, bigotry of all kinds, discrimination, limitation thinking, all kinds of fear, addictions, self hatred, hatred, violence, crime and, of course, war. Now try to imagine a world in which positive affirmations form the basis for our belief systems and think how different things would be. If you're already thinking this is "too good to be true", there's another negative belief! What about "Life wasn't meant to be easy"? I think life was meant to be to be easy - if we would only let it be.
Okay, we can't cure the world's problems or even our local community's, but we can do something about our own individual lives and, hopefully, influence others positively in the process. What I'm suggesting is that if we can learn negative thoughts in childhood, through the attitudes of our parents, teachers, friends and everyone around us, we can just as easily learn positive ideas, or, in the case of adults, we have to unlearn first. We can achieve both processes at once by using positive affirmations to wipe out the old negative ideas, replacing them with new fresh ones of our own choosing.
For an affirmation to be effective, you need the following conditions:use the first person singular, "I", when saying themonly use the present tensethey must be said with conviction and repeated oftenthey must be specificwrite your own if possible and keep to one area at a timephrase them simply
Here's an example of how you might put these rules into effect. Let's say you want more money in your life; it's no good saying the words, "more money would be good" as that just constitutes a wish. For it to be an affirmation and for it to work, you need to use "I", then put it definitely in the present and say how much you want but phrasing it as if you already have it. So it would be, "I have $50 more a week in my pay packet", or "I have $2000 in my savings account." It's no use just saying, for instance, "I have more money" as you might then trip over a five cent coin which would fulfil your affirmation! You might have to repeat your affirmation like a mantra for months or even years, depending on how much pre-conditioning you have to break down first. Others might change your life overnight. Both have happened to me. With some affirmations, I have felt like giving up many times because there just didn't seem to be any progress and with others, I have seen immediate results. This also tells you a lot about which ones are your most entrenched beliefs.
You need to suspend your cynicism, impatience and attachment to outcomes if you are to work successfully with affirmations. You might feel silly at first, saying, "I am a wealthy person" when you know quite definitely you are not! But by saying this statement over and over, you are changing your thoughts in this area of your life and the reality of your life will also begin to change.
Pick the issue you want to work on most urgently then write an affirmation of your own that suits the need. Keep saying it constantly - in the shower, in the car, as you're cooking, all the time. Out loud is best but when not possible, run it in your mind. Affirmations don't have to be in the form of words. You can affirm in mind pictures which is more like creative visualisation and that works very well for some people. You can also live your life as one extended affirmation, by actions and thoughts in general which enhance your blossoming beliefs.
Affirmations require faith and self love but most of all, deservability. Without these components, you cannot change your life for the better. You can also say group affirmations such as "My family is well and happy."
Here are some areas of life that can improve with the help of affirmations and I"ve written you an example for each.
Health: "I have a body that works perfectly."
Job: "My job is enjoyable and pays me well."
Money: "I have all the money I need every day."
Relationships: "All my relationships are positive and joyful."
Future: "My future is bright and safe."
Life: "My life is continual bliss."
These are generic ones that you can use to make a start but if you have a specific issue such as a particular relationship that needs healing, write an affirmation for it such as, "My daughter and I get along beautifully together" or "My boss values my work." I started working with affirmations in 1987 and I can only say that they have changed my life for the better, many times over. My daily routine now includes about 40 affirmations that I say in the morning, during the day and last thing at night. The more you affirm that your life is good, the more it will be. You can't take my word for it; you have to try it for yourself and I guarantee that if you say affirmations with a trusting heart, you cannot fail to see positive results. To me, it's about taking responsibility for your own life and making choices about the way you want that life to be.
One of the clearest ways to see the effects of positive mind power is in the area of manifesting. We hear a lot these days about "the laws of attraction" and how they can be used to manifest our conscious and subconscious desires. It works best for me when I think of something I want then forget about it. It just turns up in its own time. When we try to control the "how" and the "when", it doesn't seem to work, perhaps because we're not letting go and letting the Universe do its job. Positivity involves trust in Self and the goodness of life. Synchonicity cannot be controlled. It's magic and to connect to it, just set your mind to getting what you want then let go.
Florence Scovel Shinn says that we can have anything we want as long as we believe 100%. Well, we know how difficult that is for humans. It takes practice and patience. When I had my health scare last year, I found trust effortless; I didn't have to work at it. I surprised myself and the people around me but as it was the result of a lifetime's reconditioning, it should not have been a surprise.
Using visualisation and affirmations, you can, of course, manifest more deliberately but still it's no use holding your breath waiting for the Universe to deliver. Attachment to outcomes can actually delay the very thing we want, not to mention that we don't always want what's good for us! Stay positive no matter how long you need to wait and it will come.
Using the power of your mind, you can turn negative into positive, whether it's in the form of worrying, bad habits, addictions, toxic behaviour or unhealthy relationships. All these can be turned around by sheer will and determination.
There's a lot of myth surrounding this philosophy. It's not about burying your head in the sand and saying everything is wonderful. It's about finding the gift within the unpleasant, the tragic, the disappointing and so on. There's always a gift - always - sometimes very obvious, sometimes hidden. Seek and you shall find!
You can also manifest your wishes, be healthier and happier, feel empowered and make positive choices in your life. This only requires the confidence that comes with exercising your immense power both in your mind and in your soul. Something is only good or bad because you think it's so. When confronted with hurt, betrayal, loss, illness or anything else you don't like, decide it's okay and it will be. Florence Scovel Shinn says to just decide, "This does not move me."
To sum up, you have huge power that is accessible every day of your life, in good times and challenging times. There are many ways to harness this power and make it work for you. The benefits are huge. No matter what your nature is, you can achieve a positive mental attitude by deciding that's what you want then practising every day to reach that goal. As Donald Trump says, "If you have to think, think big."
Dr Charmaine Saunders was a much loved relationships counsellor and speaker who wrote for NOVA for many years. She died in July 2013.